Friday, May 31, 2013

Aaaaaghhhhh. Not O.K..

Last week CBS' Sunday Morning presented a wonderful treatise on the expression "no problem". It seems everyone born after the 80's uses the expression in lieu of "you're welcome". I've long tried to be conscious of this and avoid the expression when I mean something entirely different, like "I'm happy to do this" or "Its not a challenge to do this" etc. But occasionally I slip up even so. I feel the same way about "O.K." Perhaps my aversion exceeds reason. When I was in the hospital last fall, both scared and short tempered, a nurse came in with a big needle and announced in a perfunctory monotone, "Now I'm going to give you a shot in your stomach, O.K.? I believe O.K. as she used it meant not "Do you agree?" but rather "I'm warning you the pain is coming..." Or did she mean "Do I have your permission?" Of course not. She was already swabbing my tummy with alcohol. Without hesitation I screeched, "No its NOT O.K." I proceeded to rant for at least two paragraphs about the misuse of that expression and ordered her never to use it again around me. Never ever. For her, English was a second language and all the time I was a patient there I don't think she ever perceived what I was talking about. But believe me. I meant it and the volume and tenor of my voice conveyed this. She probably shuddered every time the doctor changed orders for me, which was often. Some folks say this: "HO-Kaaa-yyyy????" Is that supposed to mean something different? Others clip it down so its a tiny dot on the verbal landscape, as waitresses taking orders letting the customer know either "I got your order" or "I think I understand how to inform the cook how you want your eggs" or "What you are asking is totally impossible, now just shut up." I give up. Yesterday as I was ambling in from my curb side mailbox I heard the distinctive call of a quail. I looked around to discover a pair of adult quail with a newly hatched family of ten. The babies were teeny fur balls, their color cleverly camouflaging them from the weeds and gravel. They were probably less than an inch and a quarter in size. Surely they were less than a week old. Later I noticed them skittering around my back yard. The most adorable creatures I can every remember seeing. I invited them to move right in and live in my fenced back yard where they would be very safe. I hope they do. That's O.K. with me.

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