Monday, February 28, 2011

Frankly & Absolutely

I must be listening to the radio too much, because NPR-speak is starting to make me twitch. Since I make a living putting words together in what I hope to be a pleasing and logical way, I find that I resent all the filler that keep getting stuffed in the sausage of conversation. Say what you mean, I want to shout at the radio, and, while you’re at it, stop starting every sentence with “Well.” (I don’t actually shout at the radio, but I already have long talks with myself in the grocery store, so it’s probably only a matter of time). 

It’s getting to the point where I prefer the “umm-ers” to the people who seem to be under the evil influence of a computer speech generator that randomly spews out the same 100 words all day long. At least the ummers, desperate as they are to make a sound, any sound, aren’t pretending that there’s any meaning behind what they are spewing. But the characters who begin their response to every caller with “That’s a great question!” are wearing thin.  Just once I’d like to hear someone say, “That’s a stupid question. Why are you asking me that? I refuse to answer, you butthead.” Guess that will happen when NPR starts covering tractor pulls, but still.

In addition to filler, I’m starting to develop an allergic reaction to words that actually mean the opposite of what is said. Those used to be called lies, but I guess they’re called ultra-truths now. My two biggest nemeses are that terrible twosome, Frankly and Absolutely. I’ve observed that anyone who starts a sentence with “Frankly” has no intention of telling the god’s honest truth, and is more likely to be full of beans than to be frank.

Also, I simply must ask, when did “yes” get a demotion?  It used to be a perfectly good word, as plain and humble as as “you betcha.” Now “yes” isn’t good enough anymore; it’s come to seem pale and vapid next to its souped-up-on-steroid s cousin, “absolutely.”  If I ask you a question and you answer “absolutely,” I doubt your motives, your intentions and your IQ. I say it frankly, and I’m absolutely sure. Now let me go back to shouting at the radio.

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