Please pardon me for being brash, but I think I’m a very polite and well-mannered person. I owe it all to my grandmother who was a real stickler for proper manners, vocabulary and elocution.
Believe me, if my thank you notes for Christmas gifts weren’t postmarked Dec. 26, I might be cut-off completely the following year, and I could hardly afford that.
My grandmother was probably the reason I didn’t become really good at cussing until I went to work in the oilfields.
People who study such things say a language somewhere in the world becomes extinct every two weeks. Even in America we’re losing words at an alarming rate, and while I think it’s good the “n word” is used less and less, it saddens me not to hear words like persnickety, cahoots and horsefeathers any more.
Regarding our present sad, sickly state, we need to round up all of the doctors who had anything to do with curing “cooties,” then made the word disappear from the American lexicon, replacing it with COVID-19.
Listen to the way today’s teenagers talk, and one will realize we’re witnessing the death of chivalry in this country. Here are 10 words or phrases that are more endangered than all of the monkey tree frogs and fanged bats combined.
10. Hello and goodbye
On my daily walks, I often pass many others, and only about 20 percent of them bother to acknowledge my existence in any way.
Mostly it’s because they are listening to loud music through their earbuds or they are too busy yelling at their smartphones.
When I was a kid, we got a kick out of using creative ways to say goodbye. We used phrases like, “See you later alligator, after a while crocodile and see you around like a donut.”
9. I’m sorry
Heavens to Murgatroyd, I haven’t heard anyone take responsibility for anything they’ve said or done since I was knee high to a grasshopper.
8. Excuse me
This is a derivative or subspecies of the phrase “Come again.”
Nowadays, teenagers are more apt to say, “Whatchu talkin’ about?”
7. Thank you
The last time I got a thank you note in the mail was during the Nixon administration. And, e-mail thank you’s don’t count because they are too easy.
To show someone real appreciation, a person should have to look for a Hallmark card, buy a stamp and go to the Post Office.
6. No, thank you
This idiom has been replaced by, “Get lost,” or “For the 100th time, please take my name off of your list and tell your computer to quit robo-calling me.”
5. How are you?
This query used to show one’s sincere interest in a person’s physical well-being.
Now, it’s only heard when the beneficiary of a sick, elderly, rich person wants to know when they intend to bite the dust and if there is anything said recipient could do to hasten such an outcome.
4. You’re welcome
This phrase went out with Betamax, get the lead out, cut a rug, soda jerks and hobos. The updated version is, “No problemo.”
3. Let me get that for you
This phrase was last heard in 1987 and was used when a man would open the door for a lady, or a bus full of ladies from the rest home.
A gentleman did this even if it meant not getting his favorite seat by the window because one of the ladies took it.
2. I beg your pardon
This was used by the older, more well-bred and civilized people of my youth.
Those of us on the playground used the alternative phrase, “Liar, liar, pants on fire.”
This polite expression is older than Methusala and was used when someone said or did something that flabbergasted you. Since no one is flabbergasted any more, or has any idea of who Methusala is, people just say, “Chu messin’ with me, man?”
A polite request as in, “PLEASE Mister Big Shot, would you turn off that obnoxious phone or go outside to talk. I’m trying to enjoy a $45 lunch with my wife and don’t need to know about your booming business, your sorry relationships or your otherwise egotistical existence.”