Thursday, October 04, 2007

Two Endangered Species of Phrases

I mourn the death, or at least sickly condition, of two phrases that seem to be rapidly disappearing in everyday discourse: "I'm sorry"; and "Thank you." They are nice phrases, happy phrases, good feeling phrases. Both imply on the part of the speaker a recognition that others outside herself/himself have an importance in the world.

"I'm sorry" means I regret that my words or other actions have intruded both uninvited and perhaps costly to you into your world. And "Thank you" means I realize you have extended your world to embrace my needs, often at the expense of your own.

Both phrases can only exist and thrive in a shared world; a world of mutual consideration and courtesy...where both speaker and recipient bathe in the recognition of each other's--especially the other's--importance and worth.


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