Just a thought – about the words we use

I was watching television a few days ago when something the news reader said made me stop and think. Dangerous action I know – but someone’s gotta do it.

It was a short break in the programme where they give a news update – just the headlines. It’s a teaser, designed to make you keep watching until the full news broadcast commences. The news reader said something like: “See you at six.”

No you won’t.

My television set is reasonably good, but nowhere is there a camera embedded enabling the news reader to actually “see” me. At least, I hope there isn’t one (not that I ever sit in front of the television in an undressed state, mind you). I will be seeing the news readers but they will not be seeing me. So why do they say it?? It does not make sense.

How are you?

I’m not sure what the habit is in other countries, but here in Australia in the last decade, the common phrase most people use when the see you is, “How are you?” For most people this is their opening gambit – a bit like their brain is saying, “Ooops, here is a person I really should take time to talk to, but I don’t know what to say.” It’s almost like their brain has gone into meltdown mode. It annoys the heck out of me.

About a decade ago the editor of our church newsletter wrote these incredible words: “”How are you” is a greeting, not an inquiry about your state of health.” What a silly thing to say. How can it possibly be a greeting? Beats the heck out of me, yet so many people do it.

What is wrong with saying “Good to see you”? And what about “Isn’t it a lovely/lousy/ horrible/spectacular day”? You could always start by saying, “It’s been so long since we’ve spoken.” Or if that is not the case you could always smirk and say, “We must stop meeting like this. People will begin to talk about us.”

This particular greeting has reached almost epidemic proportions on talk-back radio here in Australia. I’d say that at least 90% of callers start off by saying to the host, “How are you?” If they had been listening to the host they would most likely have heard the answer at least a hundred times already. Aaaaah!

See ya later

Just to show that I am not immune to this verbal diarrhoea, last week I caught myself using another meaningless phrase. I must admit I use it far too often. I was on my courier rounds (as a relief driver) and I caught myself saying as I left each business – not once, but many times – “See ya later.”

No I won’t. Chances are I’ll never see some of those people ever again. So why do I say it?

Beats the heck out of me.

Talk to you soon.

In the meantime – good writing – and watch what you say (and write).

Further reading

 

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