March 2013

March 2013: Editor's Note

Author: Maggie Washo


Did you know that when an older person or Southern woman says, “Well bless your heart,” what she really mean is, “You are an idiot, but I like you and care about you so I don’t want to hurt your feelings”?

My copy editor disagreed. She is a true Southern Belle (from Atlanta, Ga.) and swears that when she says, “Bless your heart,” she is really sympathizing or empathizing with you. As a native New Yorker, I generally dispense with the pleasantries and call you an idiot if I think you are one. We Northerners are honest if nothing else.

This conversation had me Googling “Bless your heart” to prove my point, which led to other terms that may be deemed offensive by some people, unbeknownst to the person using the word or phrase. This was an enlightening search, and I present to you some things I learned while getting lost in the matrix.

Lost in the matrix (verb)
Spending an inordinate amount of time on one’s computer, going from one website to the next in search of something you don’t even remember when you look up six hours later. (I made this one up. I don’t think it’s really offensive to anyone. But I could be wrong…so don’t repeat it, just in case.)

What’s up? (question)
When used as a phone greeting it implies you are busy and need the person who phoned you to get right to the point with the quickness. Can be off-putting to the person who took time out of their day to call you. I mean, if you’re too busy to answer, let it go to voicemail. Right?

Hold down the fort (directive)
Generally, this is the last thing I say to our art director, Kelly Stroud, before I leave for a long weekend. What I mean is “Don’t burn the office down, and please handle any complaints while I’m gone.” However, “hold down the fort” originally meant to watch and protect against the vicious Native American intruders. Hell! With a last name of Washo, I just offended myself.

To be honest with you (dumb thing some people say)
This statement is generally blurted out before someone says something they know you don’t want to hear. Which begs the question, do they usually just lie and tell you what you want to hear?

This is just a tiny sampling of everything I found. To be honest with you, after getting lost in the matrix, I decided to let Kelly hold down the fort because pretty much anything you say is offensive to someone, somewhere.

What’s up?

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