Words and Civilisation: Words of ‘Comfort’?!

You’ve just had a major disappointment, heartbreak or mishap; or you’re just having a bad time.  You’re feeling low, sad, upset or angry.  Whatever the reason, you’re basically in a lousy place, from which the view is – begging your pardon – crap.  You need a friendly ear, so you decide to blow off steam to a friend.  Your friend responds as follows:

 

 “Oh, well, never mind”

How dare they belittle the magnitude of your woe or even the magnitude – even if slightly disproportionate – of your reaction to it?

 

“C’est la vie”

What’s with the sudden French? Unless you’re Cary Grant addressing Deborah Kerr, chances are, you cannot pull this one off.  And even Cary Grant added “etc.” at the end of the remark, to send up the platitude of it.

 

“That’s life”

No kidding.  So glad you’ve told me, since I come from a different planet.  No, it doesn’t work in English, either, sorry.

 

“Aww… Would you like a cup of tea?”

Contrary to this three hundred year-old British belief, tea does not help.  A glass of Baileys, on the other hand…

 

“Oh, sorry to hear that.  By the way – did I tell you? – I’ve just bought a Picasso”

… And why is this supposed to make me feel better? Oh! Were you going to give the Picasso or – even better – its proceeds to me?

 

“How awful! The same thing happened to me… (follows an account the length of James Joyce’s Ulysses)

I don’t want to hear your story.  I want to talk about me!

 

“It’s a lot worse for some people”

At this moment I am the most important person on this planet and my problem is the worst in this solar system.

 

“Don’t worry, you’ll get over it.  You never know what’s just around the corner…”

You’re a psychic, now?

 

“Why don’t you ask so-and-so? Perhaps s/he can help you”

How generous of you to volunteer someone else’s help.  Or is this an exercise in delegating?

 

“Maybe it’s not as bad as you think”

Now, you’re doubting my judgement, on top of everything else?

 

… And the prize goes to:

 

“It could be worse”

Aaaaaaaaaargh!!!!!!!!!!

 

Just pass the jar of Nutella, and a teaspoon.  No, it doesn’t help the situation.  But it is comforting.  Yum!

 

© Scribe Doll

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3 Responses to Words and Civilisation: Words of ‘Comfort’?!

  1. "Modern Martyr" - AKA Mike says:

    A lesson for members of today’s society?
    An empathetic contrast from the first century:
    “Rejoice with them that do rejoice. and weep with them that weep”
    The Apostle Paul’s letter of encouragement to the Christians in Rome. He wrote these words from Corinth about 56CE: (Romans 12:15 – AV)

  2. susanjcumisky says:

    CHOCOLATE!!!!!! the panacea for all ills. HAPPY CHRISTMAS!?

  3. Sonja says:

    You could turn that into a bestselling West End Play – I think it would resonate with almost everyone, don’t you? Please don’t take that to be sarcastic, quite the opposite!

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