I’ve been a lover of language all my life. Language is powerful. Language is a beautiful contradiction, capable of both bringing people together and tearing them apart. Language is the key to societal progress, and has always been so. All of these things are why I made language my life’s work– teaching high school students to manipulate language to communicate their ideas effectively and to analyze those of others. Also because it’s funny.
Ever notice how speech patterns and norms change over time? As in, we no longer describe things we look upon favorably as “bitchin'” or “far out.” The way people speak is also dependent on generation and locale. For example, I have teenagers tell me daily, “You trippin.” Yes, dear loves, I… trippin. But, to me, the funniest things people say are not colloquialisms, but rather things never intended to even have special meaning, nor be funny. It’s just shit we say. Some of them are space fillers. Some of them are precursors or disclaimers. Here are some of my personal favorites.
Correct me if I’m wrong…This is typically uttered before a point someone is about to make when they fully believe that they are, indeed, not wrong. Nobody really wants to be corrected, especially if they are wrong. If we said what we really meant, we’d say “I think you’re wrong and here’s why…”
No offense, but… This is especially funny because it is almost always followed by something that is, in fact, offensive, at least to someone– and likely intentionally so. So why do we say no offense to begin with? Some sort of “Now you can’t be mad because I prefaced my shitty statement with no offense” tactic? No offense, but just say what you mean, and mean what you say, and you shan’t worry. Yeah, I said shan’t… what?
Bless her heart… Much like “no offense,” this one is intended to be a ‘Get out of Jail FREE’ card. We Southerners blessed you with it, so yer’ kindly welcome. Here’s how it works… You can say whatever you want about another person, no matter how mean or hateful, as long as you precede or follow it with these 3 simple words. As in, “Bless her heart, she can’t help being ugly, but she could have stayed home.” Or, “Don’t you know she’s as smart as a sack of hammers, bless her heart.”
I know right… This is space filler. What the speaker really means is: “I don’t really have anything to add, I just want you to feel like what you just said is valid and that I’m actually participating in the conversation with you.” Pretty awesome. I know, right?
Just sayin… I am just about over this snarky little gem, though guilty of its use myself. It’s appeal is that it seems to fit pretty much any verbal situation, and it is wildly contagious. But when I hear it over and over, I just want to say “Sweetie, you just SAID. IT. So saying “just sayin” right after is like farting and then saying, “just farted.” Okay. Thanks for letting me know. Ass. Just sayin’.
I’m not trying to be racist… I’m not going to go near this one, other than to say that when I hear it, I am usually inclined to think that you are racist. And you admittedly don’t even have to try. Bless your heart.
Odds are, we are all guilty of some of these at least occasionally. It’s part of what makes us talky humans. What are some of your favorite funny (even if accidentally funny) expressions?