Mar. 11th, 2009

martinlivings: (Genius)
Before we went to the UK, we got travel insurance from HBF. As we were leaving the office, the lady wished us a pleasant flight. And Izz responded, "you too". We barely made it out of the office before cracking up with laughter.

Such is the power of the inappropriate you-too. The animated show "Doctor Katz" had a very funny segment about it. You know, you get a meal from a fast food joint, the counter person says "enjoy your meal", and you say "you too! Uh, you too, er, enjoy you meal... when you have one..." It's one of my favourite linguistic reflexes to watch.

However, now I have taken it one step beyond, with the reverse inappropriate you-too. It adds a level of surreality to proceedings that invariably throws people. For example, in the mornings, Izz has a shower first, then she comes out of the bathroom and I go in for my shower. Lately, as I've been going into the bathroom, I've been saying to my sweety, "enjoy your shower", to which she replies "you too". It takes the inappropriate you-too and turns it on its head, so that the you-too is now appropriate, but the statement to which the you-too is made is not.

Try it. When buying lunch at McDonalds, tell the counter person to enjoy his meal. Tell airline ticket salespeople to have a nice flight. Wait for the you-too. Then you've won.

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Martin Livings

December 2009

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