I’ve got a rant today. It is not a major rant. I just had to get a couple of things off my shoulder. It is Friday, afterall, and we are working for the weekend. Need to ventilate.
Here is my rant. No one uses the word “couple” correctly anymore. Or at least no one uses it the way I understand the word couple to mean. It irks me. It really irks me.
When individuals come to my office and tell me that they have a couple of things to discuss with me, I nod and tell them to go ahead, even if I am in the middle of a project. I often figure that it shouldn’t take long. However, what I have come to find is that when people come by my office saying they have a couple of things to discuss, they never mean that they have just two talking points. After the 4th discussion item, I start to get ansy and agitated. It gets me agitated to the point where I wonder why people don’t mean two anymore when they say couple? When did the word couple come to mean “a few”?
I think of it as a classic switch and bait. People think they can soften you up by saying it is just a couple of discussion items or just a couple of things that went wrong and so forth. They get you to think it will just be two and then bam (to quote Emeril) you get knee-deep into a conversation where you are discussing everything wrong in the universe.
Do you remember Chuck Woolery, the host of “Love Connection”? Whenever he tossed it to the commercial break he would state “We’ll be back in two and two,” which meant two minutes and two seconds — the standard length of a commercial break. Now, what if he had said they would be back in two and two and the commercial break lasted five minutes? Such a scenario would undoubtedly be frustrating. A couple should be just that. Two!
At this point, I just don’t believe anyone anymore when they say they have a couple of issues to bring to my attention. I have learned to brace myself mentally for a long-haul discussion. I also have taken to pointed out to people when they are not sticking to their two items. I do it somewhat jokingly but I make it known they were not entirely truthful. Of course, many look at me and think I am the one that is nuts since I am taking the word “couple” too literally.
In a world where Millennials are supposedly all about authenticity, words have lost a lot of their original meanings and have become “floaters”. Words can mean whatever you want them to nowadays. When is the last time you consulted a dictionary? Do dictionaries even exist anymore? I suppose we can thank Bill Clinton, in part for that. For it all depends on what “is”, is. We can actually go back further to Gertrude Stein when she wrote of Oakland, “there is no there there“.
You know how in the movie Top Gun Maverick (played by Tom Cruise) sang in the bar, that Righteous Brothers Song
That’s how I feel about the word “couple” …It’s meaning is just gone.. gone..gone