Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Linguistic Lesson

Whatever....The power of that word as a response is never lost on me. It can end a heated discussion in an instant. A quick and dismissive, whatever, seems to say it all without really saying it.

Variations on the pronunciation and almost always spoken with an attitude:
What. Ev. Er.
What. Ever.

When used as a response, it's intention is undeniable; "I'm done here. No need to waste any more of my valuable time or energy."
As the mother of teens, it's a response I heard repeatedly throughout the day. A top ten favorite of theirs and most children of similar age.

ME:"I asked you two hours ago to clean your room and it's still not clean. What possible excuse could you have for not doing it, other than zoning out on your computer? Huh?"
THEM: "Whatever mom.."


ME: "You have had all weekend to start your History project. Why now, at 7:30 on Sunday night, are you panicking and screaming like a lunatic that you need to finish your work?"
THEM: "Mommmmmuh,...What. Ever."

And it works both ways-always quite effective in cutting right to the heart of the matter.

HER: "Mom, you are being ridiculous. Everyone else is going."
ME: "Oh, well. Whatever."


HIM: "I know that I have four other pair of sneakers, but these are the ones I have wanted for so long mom."
ME: (laughing) "Nice try dude. Whatever."

I find myself using it's power more frequently in my everyday conversation. It also could be considered a "green" word, one we can feel good about using. I like to think of it as being more efficient in these eco-conscious times. By using it, my intention is clear, and I pool my personal energy resources, successfully considering my environmental responsibilities. Less words, less oxygen used, better for environment.

It is also a most effective response when arguing in loosing battle. "Whatever" conveys a succinct stoppage to the matter at hand, allowing the user to admit they are wrong without ever really admitting it.
I recommend you give it a shot. Feel it's power, it's eloquence. Get your point across, or not. Whatever....


Lisa said...

A guy at work once told me that "whatever" was a nice way of say eff you. ;)

Now, I think of that when I say whenever.

Scope said...

When this phrase first started to be used around me, I had to fight the almost autnomic response of my right arm firing an upward cuffing to the side of the issuer's head.

Now I see myself using it in the phrase, "Yeah, yeah, sure, whatever" meaning I get the lack of point you are trying to make here, can we move along to the actual issue? You're wasting my time here.

Help Desk calls - "We have a user with an issue, they are in the San Fran office. Anyway, they are on vacation..."
Me: "Yeah, yeah, sure, whatever... What do they need?"
Help Desk: "Could you release document blah so their assisant can work on it?"
Me to myself: This is why I like email and hate the phone.

And sorry about my rants yesterday. I'm feeling better today. Yeah, yeah, sure, whatever.


Heff said...

I thought by the jpg that this would be a post about penis size. My bad.

pistols at dawn said...

I tend to use more crude words to end conversations, but that's because I'm more childish than your children.

Argentum Vulgaris said...

I never considered the use of whatever, not a popular choice with British English.


Marty said...



SkylersDad said...

I find that the only other single word that has as much versatility is Duuuude.

Candy's daily Dandy said...

Lisa- A valid point!

Scope- Give in to the power of whatever. It's liberating!

Hef-HAHAHA! Ya, now that you mention it, I can totally see it. Not bad-BTW. This comment is a keeper for the 09 Hall of Fame. Check the archives.

Pistols-I give them a year or two at best before they decide the crude words can creep into the vernacular.

Agentum-Give it a whirl-you'll be sure to dazzle your contemporaries.

Marty-heehee. When composing this post I knew this would undoubtedly be in the comments.

SkylersDad-I use dude all. the. time. Ever see the commercial with Joe Buck and the play on dude as a repetive response? Hilarious.

Bella@That damn expat said...

I have gotten that response from a student. Once.

B.E. Earl said...

What Marty said.

TishTash said...

I don't mind that word in social situations. But at work, it drives me tizzy. Unless of course I use it.

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

I've always preferred "p-shaw" over "whatever".

Shana said...

Thanks for visiting

"Whatever" is one of my daughter's favourite words.

Jennifer and Sandi said...

I had no idea the Power!!

Using it more often!!

Happy Whatever Wednesday!

- Jennifer

Bambi said...

Interesing comments here- I think i use it more now as a mother than i did when it first 'hit the streets' but i like how it's so universal!

Chloie said...

Guilty of saying that a lot! Usually when I'm joking.

Scope said...

SkylersDad - Is this what you meant when you were thinking: DUDE?

Because it's what I thought of when you said it.

Cora said...

Sooo true. It just dismisses the entire issue no matter how big it is, doesn't it? There is no comeback to the almighty WHATEVER. Love it!

Cora said...

@Scope: Duuuude, that link was awesome!! I was expecting like a Bill and Ted clip, but that was even better! Excellent!!

LegalMist said...

My daughter first used the "what-ever" with hands on her hips, with me when she was three! It was all I could do to keep a straight face and tell her that wasn't appropriate when talking to mommy. Then I had to go hide in my room and laugh. She was just so hilarious, such a tiny little smart-a**.

Clearly, I wasn't doing something quite right, 'cause I had a three year old teenager.

pure evyl said...

I like to add a deep exhalation before saying whatever. It gives it that extra little somethin' somethin'.

Joe D. said...

u forgot my personal whatev-skis. . .whenever i'm in convor im done with i respond with "phillies won"

u should try it

Fancy Schmancy said...

Yeah, it bit me in the butt. I taught it to my kid, and now he uses it on me all the time. Grrrrr.

Anonymous said...

I have been looking all over the web for the artist of the picture that accompanies this post. Do you remember where you found it?