Regular readers of my Blog are very aware of my stance on personal integrity. Regular readers of my Blog also know that, if I hear the phrase, “I give you my word” one more time I am likely to break out in an allergic reaction that could see me dead unless I carry an epi-pen on my person. Regular readers of my Blog even know why I am likely to suffer from anaphylaxis when I hear that phrase these days.
Not all of you are regular readers so I have decided to help you all out a little today (you could say that I am feeling oddly generous or, more accurately, ill) by giving you the real meaning behind some of the phrases that humanity still vomits when they find a trite response necessary.
Let’s start with “I give you my word” (I have my epi-pen ready) There was a time when that phrase meant something. It meant that a solemn vow, that was indelibly tied to a person’s reputation, had just been given. One’s ‘word’ was one’s reputation, and breaking it was simply not done if one wished to be taken seriously ever again or, in some cases, if one wished to continue breathing. It was a sentence that could be relied on. Utterly. Some people’s word can still be relied upon like this. You will recognise those people by the lack of their use of that phrase. Why? Because the phrase “I give you my word” now means “I am giving you my word because that is all I intend to give you and I am hoping that you are too stupid to realise that!”.
Moving on to another utterly butchered phrase that used to mean something: “I promise”. “I promise” is similar to ‘I give you my word’. It used to mean almost the same thing as “I give you my word” did. It now means almost exactly the same thing as the modern definition of ‘I give you my word’. Yes. “I promise” means “I am saying this to shut you up and buy me enough time to get out of the situation (and your presence) so I can promptly break something that was never solid to begin with”.
“I swear…” Are you starting to see a theme here? “I swear” was serious business a few generations ago. These days it means “I say ‘bad words’ … a lot”.
“I really mean it” means “I am really hoping you fall for this shit!”.
“Honestly!”. “Honestly” means “I am lying to you outright because I don’t know how to spell ‘truth’ let alone speak it”.
“I will…” is most often used in sentences as a preface for what a person will not do.
“I can’t”. A phrase often used, with a whiny emphasis on the word ‘can’t’, which means “I am about to give you as many excuses as it takes before you buy what I am saying and overlook my laziness, ineptitude and, or, stupidity”.
Last year’s ‘phrase of the day’ was “Say what you mean. Do what you say”. It seems pretty straightforward as far as phrases go, doesn’t it? You would be wrong. It means “Lie and lie well because everything coming out of my mouth is actually utter shite that I am making up as I go along. Oh, I see you were stupid enough to fall for that shit… BOO-yah! [insert ‘birthday dance’ here] Damn, I love me!”.
Then there is one of my most loathed sayings of all time: “It is what it is”. This phrase means “I am too lazy, disinterested, weak, stupid, pathetic and/or lacking initiative to change the situation”.
“Oh dear, Mistress Savannah. Cynical much?” No. Just observant. Besides, I am Blessed to know a few individuals who still use those phrases in their original contexts. They don’t make ’em like that anymore. I think that particular mould was broken eons ago!