Grunt once for yes

February 24, 2009 § 2 Comments

…and twice for no.

My dad used to say that to my brothers and I when we were in that lovely tune-parents-out phase of our adolescence. In particular he’d use it when we were watching television. Until I was twelve or so we weren’t allowed to watch anything other than PBS. As you can probably imagine, once the floodgates opened we entered a wonderland of all-hours, no-holds-barred television watching (on all five channels — yeah!); sometimes it was necessary to pry us away for the most basic necessities.

I’m not sure what the phrase did for the boys, but it always knocked me out of whatever TV-coma I was in at the time: “Grunt? You want me to grunt my answer? I don’t know if you’ve noticed, mister, but I am a stubborn, contrary teenage girl and I will do you at LEAST one better than grunting once for yes. You’ve just committed yourself to a conversation (and I will most likely turn it into an argument, but you should have thought about that before you talked to me, now, shouldn’t you?).”

Then came college, where I no longer lived with a TV and learned to use fifteen words where two would suffice. I thought my grunting phase was over.

A few years later, enter Facebook, which got me in the habit of speaking in three sentences, maximum (no semi-colons either). Better than a grunt, but I was losing ground.

Now there’s Twitter and I’m starting to think in 140-character bursts.

Dad, here’s fair warning — you might want to dust off your catchphrase.


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