Wednesday, November 15, 2017

"Rebel With A Pause (One OF My Cleverer Titles, Though It May Not Exactly Be Right)"

Sometimes, I actually pay attention to what I’m writing about.  Not that I am on other occasions “Sleep-writing.”  It’s that, now and then, my mind returns to an earlier post, and I think, “Wow.  I meant to say that.  But I did not mean to say what “what I meant to say” reveals inadvertently about me. 

And then I go “Oo-ooh.” 

And not in a good way.

For example,

I have, on numerous occasions, cast negative aspersions on recent alterations in our communicational process, which now include, as I have before derisively decried, smart people starting their responses with “So…”, and people throughout the “Smart Spectrum’s” voices “going up” at the end of their sentences?  As if they are asking a question?  That question invariably being, “Do you know what I’m saying?”  Requiring the listener to then respond, when their accepted “Level of Commitment” to the encounter was “Just listening.” 

I say, if the speaker requires positive reinforcement concerning the clarity and persuasiveness of their positions, perhaps, before opening their mouths, they should consider a way of communicating their positions better.  Or consider the possibility that they’re wrong, clamming up and allowing me to communicate my positions instead, positions that have never once begged for encouraging validation.

Aside from the now insistent obligation to communicate – verbally or otherwise – that I do indeed understand what they’re saying, the current “Expectation of Courtesy” denies me the alternative of “simply listening”, because,

THE SPEAKER:  “Hey, Jerk Face, I just asked you a question!”

I am also opposed to how this currently accepted speech pattern sounds – that wan, desperately musical “upward veer”?  To me, it sounds like the speaker has suddenly lost their mind, eerily confusing a “Declarative Sentence” with a “Question.”

But then I thought about that.  I have a lot of time on my hands.  See:  Yesterday’s post, revealing that there is so little for me to watch on TV.  With the implied (and accurate) suggestion that I am unable to turn the thing off, nor able to keep it off in the first place.  Television is the default soundtrack of my boredom.  (I’m not sure about that one:  “TMI”?  Or “An evocative turn of phrase”?)

It now belatedly occurs to me that when I complain about unwanted “Speech Music” and unwelcome additions of the word “So…”, what I am tacitly implying is:

“I’m old.”

To which the reasonable response is:

“That’s what we do now.   Get over it!”

I did not deliberately mean to sound old.  (Why would I?)  I intended instead to be  beloved comedian Jerry Seinfeld, offering wry “Did you ever notice?” observations on the way the people today talk.   Instead, the “self-inflicted wound” headline is:

“You see?  The guy is definitely ‘past it’.”

I have no enthusiasm for “past it.”  It sounds too close to “passed away.”

Now, here’s where I defend myself. 

Though possibly irreparably too late.

It is not that I am opposed to contemporary trends in interpersonal communication.  (Though the previous sentence sounds conspicuously stodgy.  Something I picked up in a library.)  And it is not that I am a particular “Language Stickler.”   (Or “Punctuation Stickler”, for that matter; I have no idea if the period in the above sentence goes before or after the quotation marks.  And, by the way, I don’t care.  I am “that casual” about the whole thing.)

Let me say this, in my “This is not about ‘old’” defense:

In the sixties, when everyone around me was saying, “Groovy” and “Chill out”? –

I never once said, “Groovy” or “Chill out.”

In the fifties, when I was a teenager, supposedly desperate to fit in,

I never once said, “Quite the…” (as in “That girl’s quite the ‘Brainiac’.”)  “Or “Knuckle sandwich.”  (Although I did occasionally say “Cowabunga.”)   

It’s not that I was snooty, looming loftily above the conversational fray. 

I was a slang-bucking revolutionary.

Throughout every passing era of “Trendy Talk”, I have defied the “Cultural Dictators” of the day.  Everyone else was saying, “See you later, Alligator”?

I wouldn’t be caught dead responding,

“After ‘while, Croco-dile.”

I mean, what am I – “Sheep”?

Just to say – this is no late-blooming aversion.  I stood up to the “cool jargon” of every generation I ever lived through.  (With the exception of the word “cool”, whose proven durability has survived innumerable “Patois Cycles”, remaining to this day, “very cool.”)

My lifelong crusade was been to spit in the conforming face of “Fashionable Parlance.”   That is simply the way I am. 


Have I inadvertently “blown my cover” again?

Oh no.  I believe I have.

The “Inferred Message” this time:

“The guy’s always been old.”


Maybe that’s true. 

Maybe I have always been old.

There is, however, a bolstering upside to that peculiar proclivity:

I am spectacularly good at it now.

1 comment:

JED said...

Perhaps you're like George Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life. George and his father are discussing the idea of Harry, the younger brother, taking George's place at the Building and Loan and his father says that Harry is pretty young for the job. George says that he was the same age when he started there and his father says, "Maybe. You were born older, George."

That's you, Earl. You were just born older.