Say What You Mean, Mean What You Say-Skilbey Blogs

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Is an atheist aware of the meaning behind the word ‘Bye’?

Sure, they know full well that, ‘bye’ is a contraction of ‘God be with ye’, that’s why they say it.

We all do it, including the most pedantic of writers and speakers: the good people of the world can be guilty of casting comments without much attention or thought to what they’ve said or whether it holds meaningful content or not. Well, we can all get a bit lazy, can’t I? At our best, we can make empty gestures, react with reflex responses, such as replying, ‘fine, thank you’, when we’re definitely not. And worst, we can be wholly ignorant of our comments potentially causing some offence. And if we analyse our conversational style, we tend to default more towards the understatement. Understatement and cynicism are very much the ‘Bitty’ breast milk of our British culture; we suckle and digest vociferously and there’s no sign of weaning ourselves off it. Well, why should we? When the by-product is our much admired prismatic humour?
Comments I find difficult to digest are the ones uttered by those in the public eye, who choose to rely heavily on expressing thoughts through idioms, bearing no real connection to themselves, and sometimes uttered with such passion and sometimes, desperation.

At the end of the day, idioms should be lined up against the wall…

The way I see it, footballers, sports personalities and reality celebrities will happily mix understatements with idioms and come out with homogenised comments such as, ‘At the end of the day…we played under par…no-ones going to invite us to the table…we’ll have to up our game a little for that title…the other team showed a lot of character. …they were the best team on the day.’ It doesn’t give us a lot, it’s hardly insightful and feels vacuous. Says nothing.

Similarly, when a singing contestant mixes idioms with so-called passion and comes out with comments such as, ‘I’m am sooo on cloud nine and am blown away by this incredible, out of the world experience’, I can’t help focusing on current news about migrant crossings, as well as other worldly problems- past and present- where people really do experience incredible journeys. Major Tim Peak may want to add his three penny’s worth too.

When I hear people at an age less than a quarter of their average life expectancy, say, ‘This is the most important thing I will ever do in my entire life’, or ‘It doesn’t get any better than this.’ I do wonder. I get that gagging feeling I associate with eating rubbish chocolate- you want to enjoy the feeling, but it leaves a thick emulsifying taste in the mouth.

‘I’m not ready to go home. I’m not going home. I’m at a crossroads. Vote for me, you don’t know what this means to me. You’ve got to vote for me. I neeeed this so badly.’ Cue crying. Would the needs be on par with needs of a kidney transplant or heart transplant or cancer treatment patient? Understatements, idioms and a flash of desperation all thrown into the pot, still doesn’t come near feeling any more or less for them.

Perhaps, I’m being unfair to compare the two. My real point is, do they have to rely on lazy talk? With a little imagination, short sound bite replies can strike a chord that gives real identity and character to a person whose objective is to derive attention anyway. I’m not interested in football but Jose Mourinho’s springs to mind, as his comments have left people smiling, and curious about his character.

Many have the platform but walk the pedestrian talk. However, there are exceptions. Catching a bit of the X-factor a couple of years ago, I was genuinely tickled. See what I did there? The usual cluster of questions fired from the judging panel always included ‘When did you start singing?’ This would often lead to a succession of tedious answers; I used to sing myself to sleep, can’t remember not singing. My mum said I mistook  a broccoli floret for a microphone and the rest is history. Yada, yada, yada.
Then along came Chloe Jasmine. She looked like a Marylin Monroe sympathiser and claimed to have purchased her accent after taking elocution lessons to get rid of a lisp. She also came equipped with a smattering of wit.

How long have you been singing? For a long time, she expressed. They asked her to be more specific. She replied,

‘Could you dignify a baby’s cry as perhaps, an Aria?’

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