Our latest adventure starts with a shopping and lunch date with Dad.
<Digression: I am fortunate and favored to have all this time to spend with my Dad; be they the large family get togethers or the one-off lunches or (more rarely now) the occasional fishing trip. I wish I had this much free time with Mom before she passed away>
Dad was looking to hook up his computer (and laptop) to his TV so he could view his countless photos on his HDTV. Conversation with a store employee suggested a wireless hookup (similar to a home network) would provide the appropriate connection.
Dad decided to bring me along, though not for my expertise, simply as a combo run so that we could then have lunch at Checkers, which was in the same shopping center as the store. I had long praised the chili dogs and seasoned fries (but only when hot) at Checkers and Dad is a big chili dog fan (like father, like son in most ways when it comes to food…except sushi…blecch).
As we wandered the store for a bit, waiting for the employee he talked with to become free, we passed a couple guys looking at a big screen TV on the end of an aisle. One guy said to his buddy, “That’s the f***ing TV I want”. This both amused and dismayed me, probably in about equal proportion.
I mentioned the statement to my Dad and we had a couple chuckles as I extended the phraseology to other meaningless items. We then got into a “debate” (as we often do, on all sorts of topics) on the merits of such language choices. As the resident wordsmith, it isn’t hard to figure out which side I fell on.
While hardly a revelation, I am nonetheless amazed at the careless (and carefree) way many people use the four letter words of former taboo. As in the example above, the word actually makes no sense in context, so my guess is the person doesn’t even realize its placement there (similar to the “you know” and “um” inserts you often hear in sports interviews).
To me, that’s staggering.
I’m not about to go on a snobby pontification on the “spoiling” of the English language. Nor am I going to drone about cultural or societal influences. I’m not an academecian. I do think that there is a lot of laziness in the way people speak.
Since we’ve already touched on the four-letter word choices (which side of the fence you sit on is immaterial), we don’t need to rehash that. Other forms of laziness pop up in pronounciation, ENunciation, clarity and brevity.
Before you think I spend all my time analyzing everyone’s conversations, you first need to concede that for a person who works with words, noticing diction and grammar is almost an unconscious effort; a natural offshoot from trying so hard to communicate effectively.
I’m sure those of you who don’t “work” in words notice many of the issues I mention above. Most of the time, like myself, you probably let it pass without comment. I don’t view myself as the”grammar police”. Most of the time, it doesn’t even impact me, since there is so little response from anyone else.
In the right (wrong?) circumstance, though, it can be a jarring reminder how little thought people give when opening their mouths to say something. Is it any different than the thought of taking off your hat when indoors (huh, they don’t do that anymore, either?) or wiping your feet when you come in from outside (wait, not that, too?) that a person consider the environment they are in before speaking?
Look, it’s not like I haven’t explored a variety of vulgar expressions (most often after a particularly bad tennis shot like a *#!@& double fault), but in a calm moment of shopping when looking at a TV I want to buy?
That’s jut f***ing silly.