Do you know what a platitude is? According to the final and foremost authority on everything in the world, Wikipedia, a platitude is “a trite, meaningless, biased, or prosaic statement often presented as if it were significant and original.” In other words, it’s that tired old saying that you hear over and over again that wasn’t even funny or interesting the first time you heard it. We all someone who throws out these statement one right after the other, don’t we? You know that guy? I work with that guy. He talks like he learned English from reading inspirational posters at a Hallmark shop in the mall. He’s a nice guy, but just once I wish he would say something that wasn’t first said by a kitten hanging from a tree limb. He calls me “brother” too. I don’t like that. I have two brothers and they are free to call me brother anytime they like. I call them brother and they call me brother because we have the same parents, ergo, we are brothers. The line cook with the greasy face and greasier hair is not my brother. In other words, when I say to him, “Man, it’s really busy tonight,” he should not respond with, “hang in there, brother, hang in there.” Here are some other nuggets of joy he has dispensed to me as he hands me an overcooked burger that I rang in as medium rare:
- One time I brought him a cup of coffee that he asked for and he said, “You’re the best, I don’t care what anyone else says.” (Followed by a laugh because that is so funny.)
- When I get to work and ask “how’s it going?'” he always answers with “So far so good, but the night is young.” (Followed by a laugh because that is so funny.)
- If I question how much longer it will be for a salad he will invariably say “all in good time, all in good time” or “good things come to those who wait, my friend.”
- Whenever he says thank you he follows it with “you are a gentleman and a scholar.”
- When we run out of the special and it is replaced with something else, he tells me we must “go with the flow, my man, go with the flow.”
- “It’s all good” is my least favorite saying that anyone can say. It has become a catch all response for almost anything. Running late? Too hot in the kitchen? Rang in the wrong appetizer? “It’s all good, my brother.”
- Once he actually said he doesn’t like to assume anything because that makes an ASS out of U and ME. Yeah, that was hilarious when Walter Matthau said in in 1977 in The Bad News Bears. Today? Not so much.
- If it’s a slow night for tips, his words of encouragement for me are, “Tomorrow is another day, my man, tomorrow is another day.”
- “If you’ve got time to lean you’ve got time to clean.” Really?
These may seem like minor nuisances, but it gets tiring hearing them day after day. The only thing more irritating to listen to is the regular who comes and sits at the bar and tries to break the world record for using the words “like” and “basically” in one conversation. I tried to count how many times he said “like” last week and I basically, like, could not keep up:
So like, basically, what I’m saying is like, if you basically like want to order something off of Amazon, then basically what you’re doing is like taking business away from like every small mom and pop store so like basically you’re essentially like putting them out of business, basically.
At my job there seems to be a lack of respect or command for language. Lord knows I can barely string threes sentences together, but the people I am surrounded by up there are pulling the English language into the depths of despair and taking me with it. I want them to try to come up with their own sentences and not rely on filler words (like, basically) and phrases that were once spewed out by an inspirational speaker they heard in the cafetorium in the seventh grade.
What is your least favorite platitude?