A friend of mine just posted this cartoon on her Facebook wall:
So I responded that we should not forget the other replacements for “said”. Like “go”, for example. I illustrated my point with the following:
Jim goes “so I buried the dead hooker, like you asked”.
And Pete’s like “hold up. Not near the petunias! Dude, I *just* planted those things.”
And Jim’s all “nah, bro. She’s, like, interred and stuff, in your neighbour’s yard.”
And Pete goes “righteous!”
A walk in the mall or a ride on the subway allows you to hear many conversations like the above (minus the dead hooker of course). Proving, I think, that today’s vernacular has taken a kind of colourful turn. Would you agree? I’m not at all convinced it’s a bad thing. My belief is that a word or the usage of a word becomes evident and valid when one person says it, and his listener understands it. Webster would likely grunt and do his best to turn over in his grave at that notion; however, he would hardly be in a position to object openly. Therefore my point remains unchallenged.
Contrast the above conversation to this:
James encountered Peter on his morning tour of the neighbourhood. After exchanging the usual pleasantries, James raised an unpleasant topic. “Peter” he said “I have taken care of that matter we discussed yesterday.”
Peter furrowed his brows in confusion. “I’m at a loss as to the meaning of what you just referenced. What matter?”
James replied “oh you know – I have dealt with the recently deceased ‘working girl’ who suffered the misfortune of having a heart attack while in your employ.”
Peter sighed. “In what manner did you – ahem – take care of her?”
James smiled. “Well, I simply dug a shallow hole and planted her in it.”
Peter gasped in surprise. “Oh dear Lord. You didn’t bury her near the petunias did you?”
Scratching his head, James replied “are you truly concerned about your flowers, and not the recently deceased? I am frankly surprised at your glaring coldness, my friend. Are you perhaps an untested psychopath? Do you feel the need to study others’ emotions, so as to mimic them as best you can?”
Peter laughed. “By no means. It’s just that those petunias were chosen by my wife. If they died before their time, I envision my poor wife attempting to dig them up, only to encounter some part of a dead woman’s hand or leg at their roots.”
James sighed with relief. “Worry no more, my good man. I have interred her remains in the garden of your neighbour.”
Peter smiled. “Indeed you are a prince among friends.”
Given the subject – a deceased prostitute – I would find the above conversation as colourful and as entertaining as the first, albeit for a different reason.
I think this is one of the reasons I love the English language so much. There are so many different ways to arrive at the same meaning, each method providing a nuance and shade of meaning that differs from the other.
Peer review time: what are your thoughts on the above? Are you disgusted by the slaughtering of the English verbal language or are you amused by it, as I am? Be honest: has some of it crept into your lexicon?