On stuff people say

The wife’s been feeling poorly since last week, with an initial infection leading to full-blown bronchitis and the doc almost sending her to hospital on Monday out of fear that it will develop into pneumonia.  But, as he told her, the hospital’s full of sick people (I couldn’t believe this tidbit) and she might end up worse than if she just stays at home (that’s what you call irony).

Went to the doc again today and he says the wife’s on the mend.  Still he did prescribe a third course of antibiotics and instructed her to stay in bed until the weekend.  With the schools closing next week for winter break it’s a nice holiday-before-the-holiday for her (except for the intense pain when she tries to breathe – she insists on doing it several times a minute).

However, my schedule has been completely disrupted.  With the wife at home all day my carefree existence of lazing around the house and mucking about on the interwebs has gone out the window.  What with playing nurse, cooking, doing the laundry and the dishes, buying groceries and running errands I have little time for anything else.  (Ain’t I a great hubby?)

Then, last night as I was whipping up a pot of bean-and-mutton soup (yeah, I’m multi-talented like that), I got to thinking of stuff we say, like “Get well soon.”  If you think about it that’s really an idiotic thing to say.  I know there are people who say you can think yourself healthy, but I had biology throughout highschool and I’m pretty sure the immune response falls under involuntary bodily functions, i.e. you have no control over it.  You can’t get better through an act of will (but wouldn’t it be grand if we could?  Just a shame for all the doctors and drug company execs who will be out of jobs.)

I haven’t spoken to my dad yet this week as we’re seeing them this weekend, but if I were to tell him his daughter-in-law is ill, guess what he’ll say?  “Take good care of her.”  He always does.  Just once I want to say, “Nah, I’ve other plans.  I’m gonna make her sleep naked on the porch and once an hour I’m gonna drench her with a hose.  Oh, and I’ve decided to stop feeding her.  I promised to love her.  My vows said nothing about taking good care of her.”  I won’t, though.  I don’t think my dad’s sense of humour is that well-developed.

Traveling leads to many such whoppers.  “Drive safe.”  What’s the alternative?  Driving unsafe?  Playing chicken with eighteen-wheelers?  Or the worse, “Have a safe flight.”  Because you have control over that.  Most of us probably just sit there hoping the pilot isn’t smoking weed in the cockpit, or a robot, and that the guy who screwed on the wings didn’t get his “lefty-loosy” and “righty-tighty” mixed up.

Then there’s the innocuous “Enjoy the rest of your day.”  That’s a really thoughtless thing to say to someone.  “Er, my dog died this morning, my girlfriend just dumped me in a status update on Facebook, I have a bleeding ulcer and am probably going to get sacked later today, but I’ll try my best to enjoy it…for your sake.”

Friday night we’re taking a friend in Johannesburg to a show for her birthday.  Someone told me, “Enjoy the show.”  Well, thanks.  I’m planning to.  I wouldn’t really do it if it wasn’t enjoyable.

If you’re going in to write exams:  “Just do your best.”  What?  What do you mean, my best?  I thought the goal was to see who gets the lowest marks.  Are you telling me I was supposed to study for this?

What I’m trying to say is, think before you speak.  Saying something for the sake of saying something sometimes just makes you look stupid.

Now, you go and have a nice day, you hear?

7 thoughts on “On stuff people say

  1. What? No ‘in sickness and in health’? I had ‘obey’ removed from our vows, but sickness/health remained. Just teasing.
    We have been conditioned to say these things. Maybe because it’s considered harsh to say ‘you may have an exceptionally crappy day today. Deal with it’.
    Another enjoyable post, Herman.


    1. It’s love her in sickness and in health, not take care of her 😉

      It’s all about honesty. I’m tired of people constantly lying to each other, saying stuff like “you look nice” and “it will be okay” and the like 😀


      1. Hahaha true. Shows how much attention I paid to wedding vows! As long as I didn’t hear “obey”, I was ok.

        So, do you envision a world where people say, “Hey, good morning neighbour. You look like crap today! Hope your day sucks!” if, for example, you don’t particularly like your neighbour and they do happen to look a bit off that day? 😉

        I think it would make life a lot easier if people could and would say what they mean, instead of what society predicts we say, given a certain set of criteria.

        Another thought provoking post. Thanks!


      2. There’s actually a movie where it works just like that. The Invention of Lying. Stars Ricky Gervais. It’s set on an earth where the concept of lying was never conceived. Then one day the main character figures out how to lie. Hijinks ensue because, as no one else even knows lies exist, they can’t very well catch him out in it.

        On a serious note, though, I wouldn’t want to live in such a 100% honest society. Sure we lie to each other each day, but those are lies that make life easier on all of us. If you want to see what total honesty looks like, peruse the comments on News24 or Huffington Post – not pretty at all.


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