December 16th, 2013
The woman holds the bathroom door for me. She has to reach in and push with all her might because her foot placement does not give her upper body a strong position. “Thank you,” I say. “No problem,” she replies. Of course, it was a problem. She should be given a medal. Or I should have bought her a double espresso. Neither of which happened. Still, there are many who would fault the woman for her use of language. “No problem? That is incorrect. She should have said, ‘You’re welcome.’” I argue with my friend about this. He is a firm believer in using correct language. 88% of the people under 35 use the term “No problem” in this situation. (my stats). 10% say “You’re welcome.” 2% say “My pleasure.” But my friend, who is my age (72) insists “no problem” is incorrect.
My friend will concede that language changes. That a “living language” is a healthy part of a growing world. But these damn kids today have no respect for the English language.
I seldom quote Shakespeare in these battles simply because I don’t understand what all the fuss is about. I probably would have got him if I grew up in his time, but I would be long dead and wouldn’t have the pleasure of this particular argument. Anyhow, he used the word “fond” as an adjective to mean “foolish.” Today, does the word bring foolish to mind? But since Shakespeare is often given place by today’s correct language cops, why did he confound his playgoers by using new words — made up, usually, by him — in all his plays? Why did Zigfield zig when Zagfield just sat there? I think people change because its more fun than deepening the rut they’re in. Mrs. Schaum, in 1955, insisted that the correct past participle of the word prove was proved. As in “it has been proved.” Those of us who mistakenly said, “it has been proven,” were marked down on the quiz by Mrs Schaum. Still, there was something about proven that had, well, a more impressive sound to us. So we just kept saying it.
These kids today! They don’t give a damn about the things we hold dear. I mean, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious is okay, but supercalifragilisticexpialicocksucker? Way out of line.