Saturday, January 4, 2014

The United Overstates of America

(This is a re-issue of a post titled "Thank You So Much."  It's resolution making time.  I thought we might revisit the land of "so much.")

Everybody does it.  Prince William did it when he was out in California with Kate. “Thank you so much,” he said in his fabulous British voice.  Even with that upper crust delivery I was disappointed that he, the standard bearer of all things subdued and traditional, had to add ‘so much.’  He had me at “thank you” and then lost me at “so much.”

‘You’re welcome’ is a perfect response but frequently I see the word ‘most’ squeezing through to leach some solidity out of ‘welcome.’ The physical equivalent is if someone takes your hand in both of theirs and squeezes it as if they are wringing out a washcloth instead of using a regular handshake.

The United States of America is now the United Overstates of America. Why?  Oh, wait, I know.  We overstate to cover up for lack of emotion and real engagement.  How do we really feel about anything?  We don’t know how we really feel and does it even matter?

We say: “Your guacamole is awesome.”
We mean, “I can’t get excited about anything you do but I don’t want you to dislike me.” 
We say: “That dress looks amazing. “
We mean: “Who cares how you look but if I don’t quell your insecurity, we’ll be here all day.”

"I worked my ass off" and "I was blown away," would both, if true, have terrible consequences and do not elicit the approval you are seeking.

Drew Barrymore was and is appealing.  She stood on David Letterman’s desk, pulled up her sweater and flashed him for his birthday. But sweet Drew led us down a wrong path when every third word out of her mouth is ‘amazing,’ or ‘awesome’.  Thanks to Drew and her ilk, many perfectly good words have been downgraded in the tsunami of “this rocks,” and “you rock.”

A “thank you” without frills means:  "I've proven that I'm polite,  now leave me alone.”
Nice means bland and boring
Good means tolerable or it is used like a period to end a conversation.
Pretty means “I've given the opinion you are after now let's move on.”
Pleasant means "In my present and future this (event, person) is invisible."
Satisfactory means “This is disappointing but what else is new?”

“Good morning” still means “Good morning.”  Let’s leave it that way.


  1. Thank you so much for this awesome and amazing post.

    I worked my ass off reading it and I was blown away.

    This post rocks!

  2. hmm. it's a bit like "The cheque's in the post." i am EVER so delighted to have found this blog. and i mean it. x janelle

    1. Janelle, I am ever so delighted to find you here. Thank you and come back.