It is Labor Day weekend, the holiday that no one understands but everyone celebrates as a day off is a day off… We say goodbye to summer and hello to fall, unless you live in Fiji and then you just say fuck it is still hot… There is no better way to honor the labors of humans than to point out their idiosyncrasies. Today’s subject is the spoken English language, and I have searched the Globe for the laziest word. Don’t ask me how you can do that and this discussion will go much faster. After minutes of searching, I have found the word “Meh”. Some of you may not have heard of it, but it seems to be the latest way of quickly disapproving and dismissing a topic, an item or opinion in a succinct and unappreciative way that only humans can do in an instant. A few examples.
So Johnny, what did you think of that movie last night, the one that cost millions of dollars, employed hundreds of people and took months to produce ? “Meh”.
Wow look at that artist’s painting ! It took her years to come up with the idea, putting all of her time and energy into this fabulous work of originality. Ralph, wouldn’t this look great in our living room ? “Meh”.
The word has fascinated me so that I had to look up its history. I assumed it was a recent slang word invented by some kid who gave up forming complete sentences, but that was incorrect. It seems it dates back to the Mayflower, the famous ship that brought the English to the new world back in 1620.. After months of sailing, with terrible conditions, starving passengers and even the death of a few poor souls, they finally arrived at Cape Cod.. Upon landing, one weary traveler looked upon another and said, “So what dost thou think of this new miraculous world we hath discovered?” The answer was “Meh”. It appears he was expecting Cable and a salad bar before they sought out to murder the Native Indians.. Rumored has it he was shot the next day.
So listen up for “Meh” as you travel about in your daily lives. I am certainly not encouraging murder, but a good kick in the crotch might advance our language in ways you never thought of…