When I was a teenager/young adult, a common expression when one was astounded or upset with news was “You’re kidding me!” Meaning, that’s crazy or horrible or wow, I can’t believe that happened. I used it all the time.
It drove my father crazy. Even given the fact that my father was very literal, what drove me crazy was that he just didn’t understand the saying. Or perhaps was throwing it back in my face because he thought it was a ridiculous expression.
Every time his response yelled in anger was “Why would I joke about something like that!” He could have been speaking about Watergate and I would say “You’re kidding me!” Obviously, I didn’t think he would make that up. But the expression was that of my generation and it just became part of my cultural DNA.
Now the roles are reversed. I’m of the “older” generation and there are two responses that teenagers and millennials use now that
make me want to punch a wall annoy me every time I hear them. Which is daily.
Annoying expression #1: No worries.
Here’s an example. At the grocery store, when I give the cashier money or use my credit card and am ready to leave, I automatically say “Thank you” and usually add “Have a nice day.” And the response is invariably “No worries.” I want to scream “WHY IN THE WORLD DO YOU THINK I’M WORRIED? I DON’T KNOW YOU BUT AM BEING POLITE!” Plus there is an implied compliment that I think they were doing their job well by thanking them, even if they appear to be counting down the nanoseconds until their shift is over and don’t make eye contact with their customers. But I’m not worried about their shift. I assume they can handle it.
Annoying expression #2: No problem.
And here’s an example for this one. I am walking towards a building and arrive at the door simultaneously with a younger person. We both reach for the door and the other person beats me to it and holds it open for me. I tell them “thank you” or “thank you so much.” They respond with…wait for it….”no problem.” Really? If they were carrying a bundle of bricks, then it would be a problem for them and it would be nutty for them not to allow me to hold the door. If I got to the door first I would have held it open, and it would not have even remotely been a problem for me. If the other person was polite, I could have expected a thank you and my response would have been you’re welcome.
But a problem? Are we at the point in society that a different generation has to assure us that we didn’t cause them a problem? Did they make a decision that to politely open the door for someone and use up two seconds of their day might be a problem? Do they think that I thought it was a problem for them? And that I would be worried about it?
I’ve turned into my father.