Verbal Ticks


DAILY PROMPT:  Friday, June 13, 2014

Verbal Ticks:  Is there a word or a phrase you use (or overuse) all the time, and are seemingly unable to get rid of? If not, what’s the one that drives you crazy when others use it?

There is one word that I overuse.  Say it ALL the time.  I truly did not realize how much I used it until I went skydiving with my brother last year to celebrate his birthday.  As part of our package, we purchased videos of our jump.  For every question I was asked, I answered using the same word.  When I watched the video, by the third/fourth use of the word, I was cringing.  It’s not that it’s a BAD word.  And how I started using the word is an interesting story.  Which goes like this:

How many times have you been asked, “How are you today?” or, even asked the question without really wanting to hear the answer?  I noticed a few years ago that whenever I asked someone, they would give the usual “I’m fine” that is expected in our society today, but sometimes body language or other things would give away that the answer was a lie.  With a little press, you could get the full story of what was going on in that person’s life.  Now, of course, you have to be careful that when you press you really want to know the answer to the question, ’cause some people are truly going through some things in their lives and once they get to talking, you might not be able to get them to stop.  Well, I decided that I was not going to answer that question generically anymore – just to see who was paying attention, and who was really listening.  And thus began my overuse of my word.

So, that’s how it started, but it evolved over time.  I found that by using my word, sometimes I could change my attitude – or the attitude of those around me – just by saying it.  It is one of those words that when you say it, the physicality of saying it changes your mouth, your mood, your attitude.  And when people hear the word, it tickles whatever it is in the ear that can get tickled by a word and makes them smile – unless they are really grouches at heart and then they just kinda snarl at you when you say it.

Another thing about my word:  it sparks conversations, no matter where I am or who I am talking to.  Whenever I say it, especially in response to the societal polite “how are you?” greeting, people stop, look at me and say, “Really? Why?” – which can spark a conversation, and maybe even a new friendship.  On the flip side, since that has become my standard response, when I don’t use it, people are concerned and want to make sure that I am ok and if not, what they can do to help me get back to using my word.

Ok, I know, by now, the suspense is killing you.  You wanna know what this mood-altering, conversation-striking, overused word is, don’t you?  The word is:


Now, go back to the top.  Read this post again, filling in my word for each scenario I’ve written, and I am sure you will see what I mean about the power of this word.  But I think I need to come up with another one.  Just so I can spark different kinds of conversations…


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