It all started with O.J. Simpson driving down the road in his white Ford Bronco when those who wanted to be “cool”, to be “accepted”, to be “loved” ran out and bought a white Ford Bronco in the silly hope of attaining a better life than their meaningless existence.
When will the young learn that you cannot buy “cool” or a “meaningful existence” by simply following others as monkey see, monkey do. “Cool” let alone a “meaningful existence” come from leading and not following, from innovating and not copying and from creating something new rather than regurgitating a trend, especially one that essentially gives you away as a “follower”, a “tool” and “meaningless” in all other aspects of your little life.
Let’s take a look at some of the latest silliness in the “attempt to be cool”. The use of the word SO has to be one of the silliest ways to start a sentence and other than saying “so what” or similar, the proper usage is “I know you must be tired, SO I will let you rest.” You will notice that the word “so” is in the middle of the sentence and it is used in essence to continue the thought. The sentence would be asinine if it were thus: “So, I know you must be tired and will let you rest”, although many will structure it this way.
Another dumb one and almost as silly is starting a sentence with “I mean”. Why on God’s earth would you need to “qualify” what you say with “I mean” when you haven’t even said anything yet. It signifies that you “mean” nothing as you cannot qualify what you have not yet uttered. Even using it after a sentence it is silly as either you mean what you said or did not mean what you said. You then may give off an erroneous impression that when not using “I mean” at the end of the sentence that you were incorrect in what you just stated. Crazy!
Another current speech pattern that I find grating, yet young women seem to think is appropriate is when they end every sentence with an upswept lilt as if every sentence was a question and sounding unsure of what they are saying. In that case maybe they should use the phrase “I mean” at the end of a sentence. However I am of course just kidding, I mean.
There is one popular TV commercial by a company with the name of My Pillow. I would never in this lifetime buy a pillow from them solely because a woman giving a testimonial as to her love for the product has this “speech impediment”, leaving me to think “does she really think this pillow is great, or is she simply questioning the quality of it”? She might well have asked: “Do I really love this pillow or does it suck?”
One of my mentors of proper grammar and sentence construction, although unknown to him was William F. Buckley Jr. Buckley mastered the use of the pause such as a great composer would do. That little bit of silence would punctuate and amplify what he had just said. He had no reason to diminish his sentences by adding a “so” in front of it or an “I mean” as if he had he would have chipped away at his own masterful use of the English language. Just as I love to listen to Michael Savage for his Brooklyn accent and Jewish wit, I loved listening to Maestro Buckley for his mastery of language and speech. Maybe he was also to be credited with my going on to graduate as a speech major, who knows? As to cool, “in the land of the blind the one eyed man is king” but in the land of the many who vie for attention, the well spoken one and without grammatical distractions is the king.