Thursday, November 04, 2010

Yeah, No

Yeah, no.

No, yeah.

It seems, these days, no one can make up their mind. Have you heard this new colloquialism? I’ve been hearing it more and more often lately. I’ve even found myself saying it.

“Did you have a good time at the Cubs game?”

“Yeah. No, it was great.”

“I’ll bet traffic was terrible.”

“No. Yeah, it wasn’t too bad.”

How weird is this? What does it mean? In an age when we’re trying to Bring Back the Sanity and Drink Tea and Restore Fear, I think it doesn’t portend very well for our futures. We can’t even decide if we want to say yes or no! How are we supposed to decide what we want for lunch, or our birthday, much less on election day?

I’m a great believer in the philosophy found in the book, “Your Word is Your Wand,” which predates The Secret by almost eighty years. It was written in 1928 by Florence Scovel Shinn and is all about the power of your words. As I tell my kids, the fool that wrote the little poem, “Sticks and Stones,” had no idea what he was talking about. Every bruise from my childhood has healed, but I still hear the mean things people said.

Francis believed, and I do too, that words have power. (Of course I do, I’m a writer for crying out loud.) She says words carry a vibratory quality that resonates and helps create the world we live in, our realities, if you will. And if you don’t believe this, try this the next time someone asks you, “How are you?”

Answer, “GREAT!” or “SWELL!” or “FANTASTIC!” instead of just, “fine.”

I used to joke with the cashiers who would remark they hadn’t met anyone else that day who was “SPLENDID!” by saying, “They tell me if I keep saying it, eventually it will come true.” And you know what? It did. I am splendid now. Okay, maybe not SPLENDID, at least not every day. But I’m certainly better than fine. (On most days, anyway.)

So, it’s especially disconcerting to me to hear people say, “Yeah, no.” And I hear it every day. All over the country! It’s a virtual bad colloquialism epidemic (much worse, I think, than, “My bad,” or “It is what it is,” or "I'm just saying." I hereby declare I'm going to start a campaign to stomp out, “Yeah, no.”

Are you with me?

Yeah?

No?

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