Sunday, March 17, 2013

Society to Stamp Out "You're *Very* Welcome"

"Attention must be paid" -- Arthur Miller (and Tennessee Williams, too, maybe).

The Buddha (paraphrase): Be mindfully aware before you leave this place and time.

Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm (paraphrase):  Be mindful of some rules, or anarchy will prevail.

Today's guilty phrase, most hideous foul: "You're very welcome."

I've been noticing this popping up more and more. First I thought it was just in Texas, then I heard it in Arkansas, and now I'm supposing it's spread everywhere, like alien pods from Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

There's no hope for social graces if this contagion continues to spread.

When I was interning in London a while back, whenever someone bumped into another person, they'd quickly whisper, in a faux sincere tone, "Sorry!"

"Sorry," as in: I meant no deliberate insult, harm or provocation by my seeming clumsiness. We need not fight now.  

"Sorry," as in, from a darkly British war movie: "Sorry, sir, I didn't see the white flag," said by a sergeant in Libya during World War Two, after he guns down surrendering weaponless Germans. (The twist: they're actually British soldiers who'd escaped through German lines after a secret mission -- shot by their own comrades).

In any case, what exactly does "You're very welcome" mean?

What, indeed, is the difference between saying "You're welcome" and "You're very welcome?"

Nothing, except for the unnecessary addition of the adjective "very," possibly intended as a (lame) intensifier.

Again, what does "You're very welcome" mean?

A. Nothing; or

B. Nothing on a literal level, but rather it serves as an implicit acknowledgement of some kind of social interaction (favor, gift given) or socioeconomic exchange (service for money, including perhaps a tip).

C. The person who says this really means it this time! Usually, without using adding "very," he or she is not being in the least sincere.

Verily, what say ye, dear readers?  Meanwhile, You're very thank you!

Today's Irish-themed Rune: Signals.  

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