Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Origin of Phrases

That's a true statement (and other sayings)

I try not to judge people by the words they use, because I sometimes catch myself using annoying phrases. There's a guy within earshot up here at work who keeps saying, "That's a true statement," and I'm about to throw my tangle over the cubicle wall at him. Great. Now the guy next to him said, "That's a true fact." Might have to hide in the server room.

That got me ta thinkin'. What makes people start using stock phrases in their everyday speech, or what blocks their brains from realizing what they are saying? Some are passed down by family, I'm sure, but I've heard others that I know were picked up later in life.

An IT instructor from the past was moving some computers and said he needed someone with "a strong back and weak mind." I've heard him say that at least 20 times. He also used the popular, "It's six of one, half a dozen of the other." I think that means that it makes no difference which of the two you choose. Why can't he just say that?

Then there are phrases that the individual might have coined, but that become predictable.

My mother-in-law's favorite, uttered at every family gathering, is, "You can tell when our family is eating, because it gets real quiet." I think she's suggesting that the family is a bunch of loudmouths who can only stop talking long enough to chew. On that subject, I have no room to talk. Ha. Nevermind.

I can't leave out the occasions when one means one thing but ends up conveying the opposite. I often hear, "I miss not seeing you." Huh? I've let that one slip more than once.

"Can you unloosen this for me?" Sure. I think. Just hand me the jar and we'll see.

I could list and try to make funny comments about others, but I'm sure all this has been covered somewhere else, and my lunch break is over.

Quick note, though. I had my first good experience at Blockbuster a few weeks ago. They had the new release I wanted in widescreen format. Almost none of the video stores back in Missouri or Arkansas carry widescreen DVD's anymore, and historically I just don't like Blockbuster because they overcharge me for something I don't need for a week. Everything went off without a hitch, smooth as silk, and I was happy as a clam.

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