A big pet peeve of mine, along with abominable spelling and grammar, is the lack of logical thinking and ability to see the bigger picture.
I recently went to a “BP lounge” (Sorry- I was recently showed Dane Cook’s stand-up on his experience working at the “BK Lounge”) and was greeted at the entrance by a chalkboard easel with a collection of “What’s new at Boston Pizza” statements. The first improvement that my eyes happened upon was “Serving to make you happy!” (As opposed to last month where we tried to make your experience hell…).
While that is only a mild oversight, the strawberry milk carton at my school’s cafeteria is much more unfortunate. The major slogan on the carton states that Sealtest is “where good things never change”. Yet two inches below these words, in one of those snazzy explosion Word Art things, the carton states that its content now has an “improved taste”. So, logically, you have just told me that the product is awful (Let’s give marketing a big pat on the back!).
While these small lapses of logic amuse me, they begin to worry me when other people don’t notice them. When I bring the errors to light, the most common response I receive is, “You WOULD notice that, Kirran”.
Yes, I did, and so SHOULD you. Now I agree that not everyone is constantly looking for amusing “grammatical faux pas” (they should really start though because it is highly entertaining) but I see these mistakes everywhere.
All these little blunders are now slowly slipping into our range of what is accepted. Here are some common ones: ATM machine (Automated Teller Machine machine- although my favourite attempt at deciphering what ATM stood for was “Access To Money”), “I don’t have nothing” (so you DO have something! I knew it!), and “if I’d have known” (the unfortunate combination of “if I had known” + “I would have” = if I had have known). These are just a fraction of the sayings we don’t realize are grammatically wrong.
My old physics teacher once called me a “button-pusher” because she was under the assumption that I didn’t like to use my brain and that all I wanted to do was plug numbers into a formula on a calculator and hit “equals”. She was wrong: I just didn’t care how much force a duck had to exert to prop open a 2kg window at an angle of 35 degrees (I’m seriously not making the duck part up- evidently, science isn’t really my thing).
However, I really think my teacher hit on something much more profound than she expected. I see so many button-pushers who just want to plug in established phrases into their conversations and not bother about what they are actually saying.
How many of you have said “You too!” when told “Happy Birthday” or replied “Good, and you?” to “What are you up to?” (The former is one of the best situations to observe- first the acceptance by both, then the gradual realization by both, followed by the awkward laugher or the awkward silence, and finished by the “walk-of-shame”)
The omission of thought that goes into forming day-to-day responses worries me. Just something to think about I suppose.
As always, I like to leave on a happier note with some ridiculous slip-ups. This little conversation on Facebook is a personal favourite of mine:
Person 1 (status): I’m board.
Person 2 (comment): I’m chalk. We should get together.
Person 1(reply): BOARD! Like I don’t have anything to do, not BORD, like a chalkbord. Learn to spellcheck.
Person 2 (reply): Oh god I hope you don’t breed
That little gem gets me every time. Mmmhmm, can you spell G.O.R.G.O.U.S.E?