Wednesday, November 07, 2007

G is for Gratitude... in, thank you for whatever shit you're giving me.

Gratitude is a culturally-specific expression. Here in America, we used to say "you're welcome," in response to someone's thanks. I'm not sure what that means, the etymology as it were. It just is. Or was.

Now, when someone says 'thank you', people say 'no problem.' Huh?

Thanks for the memories. No problem.
Thanks for nuthin'. No problem.
Thanks a bunch. No problem.

Unless you're affected with Spanglish, in which case you would say, "no problemo."

In Britain, they don't say you're welcome or no problem. They say, 'thank you' back again. Sometimes this results in a kind of parody.
Brit 1: Ta ever so for that whatever it was.
Brit 2: Thank you.
Brit 1: Thank you.
Brit 2: No, thank you.
Yank: No problem.

I can see using No Problem if someone is thanking you for bringing in the mail. Or taking out the garbage. Then you really do mean "it was no problem for me to do this small (or large) act of kindness for you." But when the guy on NPR is thanking the Minister of Diddlysquat for appearing on the show, especially at the ungodly hour of 7 a.m., the correct response is not No Problem.

No problem is not a gracious way of acknowledging that a fellow human has marked some action of yours as positive. No problem is just another way of saying, what the fuck, and as we learned from yesterday's post, dropping the F bomb ain't cool.

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So--whaddaya think?