Things I Never Thought I’d Say

Life is weird. At certain times in your life, you are sure you would never say anything odd, embarrassing, silly or just plain dumb. But then, technology changes, you change, and you are saying things you could not have imagined yourself saying 20 years ago. Or ever. Travel is broadening, but in so many ways I had never imagined.

Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 9.35.07 PM1. If you remember a time when there were only landlines, phones were attached to the wall or sat on a small table. When you phoned someone you never had to ask, “Where are you?” because the answer was one of two rooms where the extensions were.

2. “I need Botox.” Botulinum toxin is a neurotoxin that for all of my life lived in poorly canned meats and killed people. You didn’t need it, you feared it. The idea that some people cheerfully inject it into their faces is still a bit jarring.

3. “What day is it?” The first time I walked into a rest home and saw the day and date on the bulletin board, I was horrified. People didn’t know? But when you are teaching grammar on Monday and editing on Tuesday and persuasiveScreen Shot 2015-02-02 at 9.36.53 PM writing on Wednesday, and copywriting on Thursday, and you always wear black dress pants when you teach, it’s easy to get up in the morning, shower, put on those black dress pants and then wonder, “What day is this and what am I teaching?” It’s a bit scarier if you are in a hotel room on a 12-consecutive-days teaching gig and the hotel room in Dallas looks like the one in Cincinnati and you aren’t entirely sure where you are, much less what you are teaching today.

4. “Please don’t lick my phone.” Said to a child on an airplane.

5. “Yes, I am the last drop off, but that doesn’t automatically mean that suitcase is mine.” Said to a shuttle driver in some city where I arrive in the middle of the night.

Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 9.52.10 PM6. “It’s a fountain pen. You use it to write with. The tip is sharp, but not dangerous. No, it’s not a blow dart.” Said to a TSA inspector.

7. “No, I never told him not to steal the car.” Said to an angry Human Resource inquisitor when one of my direct reports stole the company car and went joyriding, then blamed me because I hadn’t expressly forbidden him not to steal the car.  “And I didn’t tell him not to pee in a wastebasket, either, because some things seem pretty clear to me.” He stayed. I got fired.

8. “No, I don’t have a spare condom you can borrow.” Said to a young couple in an elevator. “If I had one, I’d give it to you, not lend it to you.” And then realized they didn’t understand why I added that. Because when you teach grammar, everything is a learning experience.

Are there phrases you never thought you’d say or would have to say? Leave them in the comments. It’s a good day for a laugh.

Quinn McDonald lives to laugh at herself. Lucky for her, life gives her plenty of opportunities to do just that.






38 thoughts on “Things I Never Thought I’d Say

  1. I Googled it! (even spell check has a problem with this).
    PM me when you get a chance
    I just started Following you (that sounds creepy even to me)
    I thought I would be in Candy Crush hell forever
    Ignore the Trolls, Haters gonna hate

  2. “I like to start my messaging in Twitter because my account settings will grab and copy to my personal and group FB pages. Now if I can just loop in Instagram, I’ll be hitting all my key tweeters, FBers, and Igrammers.” Even when I typed that I was not entirely certain of what I was stating or if the person on the other end could pull up a mental snapshot (is that still a word?) of what I was trying to convey. I used to know for certain what I was talking about. Now? Hmmmm.

  3. “Did you try turning it off and then back on?” What ever happened to making things robust enough to run for more than a few hours without having to be completely reset? Thank god airplanes don’t work that way.

    Guilty of the following:
    “Friend me!”
    “Having this for lunch/dinner! YUM”
    “What’s your contact info?”
    Using text contractions and TLAs (three letter acronyms) during real conversations: “So I LOLed her and she said O…M…G… and asked WTF?”

  4. “Please don’t lick my leg.” (Said to the boy, when he was younger.”)
    “I don’t LIKE it when people bite my rear end.” (Said to the neighbor’s somewhat brainless dog.)

    • I love the super polite voice we use with other people’s kids (maybe our own, but I was tougher on my kid) when they engage in age-appropriate, but socially frowned-on behavior, like leg-licking, phone-licking, or body-oversharing. When I fly, many younger mothers assume that I am a traditionally-built grandmotherly type. This is a mistake, but it makes them feel OK to ask me to watch their toddlers so they can go to the bathroom alone. Understandable, in an airplane. But I wonder how many mothers would shrink from embarrassment if they knew what their little boys told me. Or showed me. Or how few toddlers know the correct name for body parts. Or how I hope the sentence, “Yes, you have a very fun doodle, but I bet it gets cold when it’s out, so why don’t you tuck it back in your pants” does not get overheard by the nine people crammed into rows around me, who do not know that the boy is 3, and probably just scared of flying.

  5. I’m so glad they write the day of the week and date on the whiteboard in my Mom’s hospital room. After spending 11 days there, I have no idea what day it is. I’ve also noticed that since I don’t use a calendar every day, I tend to lose track of my days. It’s a bit alarming considering I used to live and breathe by my calendar.

    And I say, “Where are you?” all the time when I call my parents on their cell phone. It is funny, now that I think about it.

    I can’t think of anything funny to add but thanks for the morning chuckle. I definitely need it!

    • When our actions become repetitive, only the results are important, not what day it is. And it’s an artificial concept anyway. But it’s one of the few everyone agrees to, so it becomes important. Last night I checked to make sure Wednesday was the teaching day, because it’s easy to confuse where you are supposed to be when. And my thoughts are with you.

  6. “Damn auto-correct!”
    I never thought I’d be compelled to use a new language, but here I am trying to deliberately type words into a text message that I know don’t *really* exist or are deliberately spelled incorrectly. So, no, I never would have imagined I’d curse a tool meant to try and correct my faulty typing.

    • Auto-correct mistakes are both horrifying and funny. Horrifying when we make them and funny when other people do. I hadn’t thought of it as a new language, but it is. As someone posted yesterday on Facebook, he remembers a time when OMg meant Oxygen and Magnesium.

  7. I heard this when I was a therapist and you can’t steal it because it will be the title of the chapter on couple’s counseling when I write my book.

    “If my wife trusted me more, I wouldn’t have to move in with my girlfriend.”

    • That’s wonderful! Martha Beck talks about a man whose wife caught him in bed with another woman. The man said to his wife, “Who are you going to believe–me, or your lying eyes?” Another gem.

  8. Thanks so much for a good laugh. With me it’s more actions that I surprise myself with. I have a cell phone, I have an e-reader and I read actual actual books. They require different movements and I regularly mix them up. For instance just a few days ago I found myself pressing the page of a paper book hoping it would skip to the next page. I’ve also been known to swipe my e-reader the way you do a phone to move the text upwards. Neither worked, I can tell you that! 😉

    Your fountain pen story makes me think of how amazed people seem to be that I still write so much by hand. Apparently most people only know how to write by keyboard (be it big or small). I just can’t imagine ever not writing with a pen anymore, but who knows… I also never thought I would ever own a cell phone when they became popular in the nineties. Now I love my smart phone and don’t even have a land line anymore. Who knew?

    • That’s funny with using your hands differently on different devices. I do that, too, and am momentarily concerned when it doesn’t work. We have an old-fashioned TV, not the flat kind, and the other day my husband was using the remote and I was closer to the screen, so I touched the screen in order to start the movie. Nope. I type faster than I write, but I will always write in my journal with a pen. Different things happen in my head, things I like more than using a pen.

  9. “I texted that to her”
    Texted?? As a fellow grammarian, Catholic School trained, that word just drives me nuts on so many levels, not to mention I never would have believed I would ever “text” anybody.

    • Words shape our culture and our culture is shaped by words. I’ve already gotten used to “text” as a verb, but I’m not used to people texting in class, claiming they have to stay in touch with their kids. I wonder how I ever brought up my son without a cell phone. Without calling him 20 times a day or texting (sorry) him.

  10. I’m like Debbie – I’m commenting so I can see what other readers have to add. The only thing I can think of right now that I thought I’d never say to somebody was this: IF ALL ELSE FAILS, READ THE DIRECTIONS. It was one of my mother’s advice to me and I laugh about it when I have to say it to somebody or to myself. I’m sure there are other things I’ve said that I never thought I’d say but this is it for this morning.

    • Here’s another one I never thought I’d have to say: “Does anyone need a pen?” Yep, at least three people EVERY time come to a writing class with no pen. I’m told quite often, “If you had a Powerpoint, I wouldn’t have to take notes.” Powerpoint was designed to help engineers talk to marketing, not teach a class. And most of them don’t teach a thing.

      • When I worked at our community college in the admissions/registration office, I can’t tell you how many times people would come to the counter without a pen. I used to think it was only the young people that think of the entitlement but that changed, also.

        • OK, so I walk around with a fountain pen and a ballpoint pen in my purse at all times. But seriously, if you are going to any office (and when you leave your house, I’m assuming you just don’t randomly decide what to do once you are in the car), wouldn’t you take something to write with? It baffles me.

  11. Thank you for the early morning giggle. It’s the first thing I read this morning. And yes, the elderly forget what day it is! Oh my, I do to! But I’m not elderly. Wonder what I’ll be like when I am! Loved this post.

    • It’s more than just being old that makes you forget what day it is. A repetitive schedule, hotel chains with identical decorations (I’ve stayed in hotel rooms in Dallas and Cincinnati that were identical in every way, down to the location of the art on the walls and the placement of soap in the bathroom), airport gates that have no clocks or any identifying marks except the delay signs and destination cities.

    • There were some I couldn’t print, generally involving little boys around 3 and their appendages. My blog is set so if someone uses certain words, it will send it to spam. But there seem to be a lot of free-spirited little boys on flights I take.

  12. This is great, Quinn! My favorite is the one about the fountain pen. Shows the ignorance of many of them and their incapability for the job. (Was that grammar good?) I can’t think of anything right now to add, but needed to comment in order to subscribe to the comments! I’d love to see what others have to add.

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