Dec 15 2008

Eight Things You’ll Never Hear Me Say (or See Me Do)

I suppose we all have things we never say or do, either because they sound stupid to us, or we can’t imagine following up on them. Here are some of mine, just for fun.

“Boo-yah,” “Oo-rah,” or anything of the sort.
I never served in the military, so I’m probably not allowed to say these anyway, but I can’t imagine wanting to. When I see guys shouting these, the phrase that usually comes to mind is, “trying too hard.” Maybe it doesn’t seem that way to the guys in the club. I’m really not into shouting out excited catch-phrases anyway, which brings me to:
Chest-bumping or butt-slapping.
I’m so glad my basketball-playing days were 20 years ago, when the extent of physical contact during a manly celebration was the high-five.  (Or if you were really excited, maybe both hands for a high-ten.) The first time an athlete decided to slap his teammate on the rear, didn’t the other guy stop everything and ask him what the heck he was doing? And the chest-bump: at least two of them had to arrange that one the first time, or someone would have gotten hurt. My pool league teammates like to fist-bump, which isn’t too bad, although I’m not sure why that’s cooler than a high-five.
“Houston, we have a problem.”
Is it just me, or do we all have phrases that are like nails on a chalkboard when we hear them? I’m getting a rash just typing this one. I don’t know why, but when Apollo 13 came out and people started using this to refer to everything from a bad grade on a report card to the toilet getting plugged, it drove me nuts. I hope I never hear it again, and I’ll certainly never say it.
“What happens in XYZ stays in XYZ.”
This is another one in the “makes me wince” category. I may never go to Vegas for this reason. Again, I don’t know why it grates on me so much, but when someone says this, I just want to punch him. So far, I’ve been able to resist.
“Where are the really big rides?”
For those who don’t know, I don’t do rides. No, not even Ferris wheels. Any sort of heights makes me dizzy, and being in a moving vehicle where I can’t at least see the controls doesn’t thrill me either. I could probably handle a merry-go-round, but I haven’t tried since I was a kid, so I can’t really say for sure. The last time I accidentally wound up on a ride—because it was almost stationary and only used vision and slight movements to give the illusion of flying, so I let people talk me into it—I lasted about two seconds before I shut my eyes and kept them closed until it was over. At least I didn’t puke.
“I’m tired of staying home so much.”
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a total hermit. When I lived and worked in an apartment in Barry, I’d start to miss human contact after 3-4 days at home by myself, so I’d go get groceries or something. But for the most part, I don’t feel the need to get out much. Everyday life and other people’s plans usually get me out in society plenty often for my tastes.
“I’ve got nothing against XYZ people, but…”
Every time I hear this I know there’s something offensive coming, so I get away from the person if I can. I can’t imagine saying it. Might as well announce that you’re about to have bad gas.
“There’s nothing to do here, let’s go to Neighboring Big City.”
I’ve been hearing this all my life. No matter where I’ve lived, in towns with populations from 200 to 500,000, people always think their hometown is backwards and boring and Some Bigger Place is so much more fun and sophisticated. Well, it’s just not true. Sure, there are a few things St. Louis has that Quincy doesn’t, like pro sports teams or ethnic restaurants other than Mexican and Asian. They also have more crime, a higher cost of living, and lots of people saying, “This town is so boring, I wish I lived in New York.” Most people, wherever they live, go to work, go home, take classes, go to movies, order pizza, meet friends at bars—all things you can do in any town with more than a few thousand people. Most of the rest is just seeing the grass as greener over there. No thanks, I’ll stay in my small town; there’s plenty to do if you look around.

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