Friday, March 21, 2008

Lo and Behold

At my previous job, I worked with a woman who had an annoying speech habit. She would preface a sentence with the words, "Like I said..." She would say it 6 or 8 times in 5 minutes. I used to listen to her carefully, trying to catch her using it when she was not restating something. I had this fantasy that I could cure her of using it if I could just catch her using it improperly, but I never did. I learned to deal with it.

In this new job, I have a co-worker with whom I must work rather closely. She's not very pleasant to look at - bad skin, really bad teeth, ugly moles and a weight problem. But I can deal with it.

One of her weird habits is called "cueing." If she hopes I'll answer "Yes" to a question she asks, she nods her head while asking the question, as though prompting me for the answer she wants to hear. If she wants a "No" answer, she shakes her head and frowns while asking. I think I can deal with it.

She also has a really irritating habit of sending me an e-mail, then walking over to me and explaining, in great detail, the contents of the e-mail. I'm hoping I can deal with it.

What I'm having trouble dealing with are her incredibly annoying speech habits. One problem is her poor diction. She drops the "g" and the "th" that end words. For example, she said her husband is in "seven heaven" when he's "playin" golf. And, she seems incapable of pronouncing the names of foreigners. We work for an international company, so there are lots of foreign names being tossed around, and I'm forced to listen to her mangle them every day. This is going to be difficult for me, because it appears disrespectful if you can't learn how to say someone's name.

However, the speech habit that is already driving me insane after one week on the job is that she uses two prefaces constantly. One of them is "How should I say?..." For instance, she'll say, "I went into Jerry's office to ask him about that project. How should I say?...He hasn't made any progress." She uses this device constantly, which I find irritating, but it doesn't make me want to deal with it somehow - not yet, anyway.

The other preface is the one that will break me, I'm afraid. It's "Lo and behold." She'll say, "Yesterday I tried to log in to the server. Lo and behold, my account was disabled." She's said "Lo and behold" 20 times in the past week. It's like a stone in your shoe that you can't remove. It grates and irritates and I can't seem to create any mental lacquer that will turn it into a pearl. It's not funny, it's not cute, it's not charming, it's not even colorful or unique.

The problem, as I see it, is that she doesn't respond to mirrors. If she did, she'd have lost some weight, fixed her teeth, had those moles removed, etc. But since she hasn't, I can only assume that when she sees herself in the mirror, she doesn't see anything she wants to fix. The same must be true about her speech patterns. If she hears herself use these expressions, she must not think they're worth omitting. Somehow I have to convince her to omit them. I'm thinking of using something very persuasive, like a cement truck. See, I'm dealing with it.


11 comments:

michael said...

This sort of thing must be a a byproduct of working in corporate America. I had a similar issue when I first started working at my previous bank. There was a guy whose desk was very close to mine who said, "alrighty then" MULTIPLE times a day and not in an ironic Jim Carey homage kind of way. No, it was kind of his standard sentence starter....I wrote about the guy here:
http://nothingpersonalbut.blogspot.com/2007/07/transfer-2.html
Also?
My Grammy Betty used to preface sentences with "like I says"...when she hadn't been saying anything at all.

Anonymous said...

Lo and behold - poor language practices are a part of life today - absolutely inescapable! My pet peeve is 'secant' for SECOND!!!

Tim said...

Here's another one for you: While job-hunting, I found an ad that specified "No pre-Madonnas." I wish I could say it was intentional, but it was not. So what did that person think this expression referred to? Pat Benatar? They don't want Pat Benatar for the job?

Chris said...

Maybe you should start on those beers at work...

michael said...

No pre-Madonnas? Wow. I would guess that to mean no Deborah Harrys either?

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Chris said...

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burton said...

my biggest pet peeve is when people absolutely cannot pronounce the word nuclear. some people do not even try! it kills me to hear politicians or incredibly intelligent people (notice there is a difference in most cases!) say "newcular". this may sound funny coming from a guy who idolizes brett favre, but come on people...just say "new-clear". it is aggravating because most people accept it. we all do for that matter. these people say it like it is a speech impediment and move on. it is laziness! if i ever said newcular, i would probably laugh uncomfortably, ponder the irony (and then ponder whether it was irony or mere coincidence) and quickly correct myself.

Wayne said...

How about people who compulsively insert "know whum sayin" (Translation: Do you know what I am saying?).
I'm a little uncomfortable with "anyhoo" also. Overused.

But dropping the g, like swimmin' instead of swimming? That's no biggie. Lo and behold, that's just standard Southern dialect. Know whum sayin'?

burton said...

Wayne - for some reason, in my mind your "know whum sayin" had a Mr. Mackey voice (MMV) to it. "Um....Sayin anyhoo is bayad. know whum sayin?"