I promise to not detail much of the above, lest I launch a rant. Legitimate, but still a rant…and ladies don’t rant—except for one who does so with courage and justifiable outrage, and a second who informs with satirical humor aimed at the state of affairs, or the Affairs of State. What prompted my muddled, misdirected condition of mind was that because my one-and-a-half-year-old Mac crapped out (thank you, Murphy) at a crucial point in my work, I had time to “poor me” and watch TV. I don’t know Murphy’s opinion on lightning, but I know it CAN strike twice in the same place. I’ll expand on only the first topic, computers, as I have not had time to see anything humorous in the others.
Let’s hop in the TARDIS and shift back almost two years. There was Murphy, waiting for me, and he did a déjà vu of the future. He struck my seven-year-old Mac’s new hard drive with a blitz of color snow like old TVs. It was a built-in omen that Mac was about to suffer a heart attack. Which it soon did. And with a flagrant fizzle, frying some of my potentially Nobel Prize winning writing.
Walt, my patient husband, loaded Dead Mac and me into the van and rushed us to Apple Hospital sixty miles away, while enduring my many Navy Post-Grad creative invectives hurled at the Apple God for birthing such a demon. The heart transplant was successful, and Walt suggested he’d deal with Old Mac’s increasing age-prone illnesses and adopt New Mac for me. After saving up the hefty adoption fee, we welcomed Newbie into our home.
Back in the TARDIS to present time. Our infant New Mac suffers the same technicolor snowstorm and craps out. Another one-hundred-twenty-mile round trip to the AH (no reimbursement for mileage) and we are told it was a software issue. “One,” I asked, “that Apple has not solved in more than two years? Somebody needs to be fired!” I have visions of the failure cause and lack of remedy.
One: In ancient times, royal seamstresses went blind sewing extremely fine stitches in royal garments. Today, I see twenty-something blind women and men tapping their white canes down China’s roads as they are dismissed from working at creating computer circuitry.
Two: Apple Gods: “Hey, tech support is for only three years. Deal with it. Suckers will get pissed and buy a new computer. That will keep us in mega-bucks, and you in your cubicles.”
What has this got to do with writing? Really? Okay. A painful situation can be alleviated with satire, a hint of sarcasm, perhaps a sprinkle of anthropomorphism, and a little bit of creativity. Much more entertaining than the slush that ends up in the newspapers as vicious opinion, right? Remember Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels? Quite entertaining and a safer approach than a direct attack on the conditions of his times.
So, here’s your assignment. Take your finest pet peeve. Ruminate on it awhile and come back with a piece that makes us see things your way…or at least enjoy your humorous approach. Write on!
I wish I could remember which journalist years ago explained his major pet peeve. I’d probably punch him in the nose. Why? His explanation has stuck to me like superglue and my eardrums rub raw every time I hear the phrase. And I hear it dozens of times a day.
His major pet peeve irked whenever he heard a guest reply, “Thanks for having me,” for appearing on the host’s program. The journalist said hearing those words conjured up all sorts of vivid, illicit images of the manner in which the host “had” the guest! And, I wonder, when? Before the show? Where? In the Green Room…or a quickie in the broom closet? I might add, “Thanks for having me on your show” is even worse. I’m tempted to switch channels on hearing that one. Is that a wink-wink way of hinting at live sex? Don’t think I’d care to watch. I’d hate to see anyone’s…shortcomings exposed.
My inquisitive mind wanders to wondering if the guest might be the son or daughter of the interviewer. Who was the interviewer’s mate? Was it a long labor? C-section? Natural delivery? By the time I finish my speculations, the interview has passed and I’ve lost all but the lasting impression that I infer from… “Thanks for having me.”
I suggest any of the following replies to your host:
“Thanks for inviting me.”
“Nice to be here.”
Or just a gracious “You’re welcome.”
(And you needn’t thank me.)
That being said, That being said… ranks in the top ten on my list of pet peeves. I yell at the offender, “Of course, you idiot, we heard you say it!” Find another segue! Excluding politicians, you’re on radio or TV because you are fairly educated, reasonably intelligent, and somewhat adept at promoting your point of view, yes? Vary your routine. “However,” is nice. “But, we must remember,” is pretty good. “Also, let’s consider,” is a possibility. Don’t go near “On the other hand.” That’s another of my pet peeves. It’s excusable if you have only one other point to make, as you have only one other hand. I hope.
“Look.” I cringe at that one. It implies that having been asked a question, the interviewer is too stupid or inept to follow the answer. It’s insulting. Look, make me happy. Just drop it, and make your point.
“Listen.” That, too, insults your conversation partner. It assumes that having made a point, your host is about to reach up and switch off his hearing aid before you can reply. Listen, take a deep breath and just go into your rebuttal.
Okay, my curmudgeonly comments are complete is for now, but, yes, I’ll be back! In closing, let me say thanks for having…an open mind. (Whew! That was a close one.)
D on D Blog JULY 2016 AS OF YET…
…I have no explanation for as of yet. I see no yet on my watch, or any clock. Does it serve well as a time reference? Can we say: “The cake will be done as of yet.” “The train will arrive as of yet on Friday.” “We are open as of yet to five o’clock.” Nor do I see yet on my calendar. Sunday through Saturday, yes. As of yet? No. January through December, yes. As of yet? No. Can’t somebody outlaw this one? (As of yet, no!) Maybe we’d have better luck outlawing the journalists who utter it.
Then there’s the idiom about the clock. You know, that dirty clock that belongs to John. “He’s going to clean John’s clock.” Am I that young, or are these journalists that old? Clean a clock? Don’t we just throw them out and buy another from China, so we can throw that one out and keep the Chinese economy perking? What I mean guys, is be creative. Bring it up to date. How about, “He’ll erase John’s hard drive,” or “He’ll wipe out John’s accounts.” Even “He’s going to wash John’s chalkboard” would be less lame than clean his clock. If he wants to clean something, I’ve got a garage I want him to see.
While we’re on the subject, think about “They’ll take him to the cleaner’s.” I’m always tempted to help him by interrupting with, “What if he wants to go to Walgreen’s or Walmart? Be generous. Take him out for the whole day!”
At times, reworking hackneyed idioms and clichés such as you missed the boat requires engaging brain before opening mouth. In my literal-minded third-grade class, during a question-answer session at the end of the day, Miguel badly missed the mark with an obvious guess at an answer to my question. The kind of guess that leaves the class snickering. I smiled and attempted to make light of his gaff.
“Gosh, Miguel,” I said, “you really missed the bus on that one.” Hands flew up eager to share the right answer, and my attention was drawn away from Miguel, who rose and headed for the door. “I gotta go,” he said. This was not unusual. As long as the lavatory privilege was not abused, and not more than one child was out of the room at a time, such announcements were common. What was uncommon was to have the guidance counselor return Miguel to class minutes later.
“Did you tell Miguel it was time to go home?”
“But you said I missed the bus,” Miguel protested.
I sagged under the weight of a long day, tired feet, and a blossoming headache brought on by realizing what might happen when an idiot skews an idiom!
So, choose even your semi-original phrases carefully. Particularly in multicultural situations where American idioms don’t translate well into foreign understanding.
As of yet, I am out of pet peeves, but this an election year, and there’s a lot to dislike out there! Stay tuned for the possible Return of the Curmudgeon!
As a writer, words are my breakfast, lunch, dinner; my air and water, my work, play, and joy. Words are my babies, my beloved. They are NOT ‘my significant other.’ They are a dear and valued part of my life.
I often wonder what, not who, coined the term ‘significant other.’ I picture some geek at a secret half-human, half-machine robot computer (you know, the secret one out in Area 51) saying to it, “You know, Half-bot, I’m living with this girl, just not sure I want to get married, but she’s a nice girl, and we’re learning to tolerate each other, and, well, maybe…”
“What is your point?”
“Uh, yeah. Well, she’s more than a friend, more than a roommate, more than just the girl I live with but…”
“What is your point?”
“Memo to self: Work on Half-bot’s sensitivity to human interaction.”
“Noted. What is your point?”
“I don’t know what to call her.”
That’s my guess how the ghastly term came about.
I have a favorite pair of shoes that are winners. I also have ‘place’ and ‘show’ shoes. These other two pair are my ‘significant others.’ Good enough for their specific purposes, but not good enough for a lifetime relationship. Good enough for a walkabout, not good enough to put under my bed. My clothes are categorized much the same way. So are my feelings for food, animals, music, movies, sports… You get the picture?
Significant Others are nice to have around, but less important to me. Is that what a relationship partner should be called? What ever happened to sweetie, my love, boyfriend, honey, girlfriend, partner, fiancé, roommate? Is Significant Other better than roommate? Doesn’t sound it to me. Sounds like a co-bill-payer with benefits. Sleazy.
And if you split, what do you call your Ex? Insignificant Other? Now there’s a good one! That I like.
I heard a guy say, “I live with Jane,” in response to an introduction. Well, that’s ambiguous too. Ruff the dog, Finny the Fish, Mac the Macaw, and Jane’s grandmother live with her, too! Where does the guy rate, I wonder. Sounds like a sleazy co-bill-payer-with-benefits Significant Other, if you ask me.