It’s such a tiny phrase. I’m not really sure when it popped up into our daily vernacular, but those three little words are driving me insane. Three tiny words that mean the person about to speak is fixing to sound like an asshole.
“You know what?”
Oh, it drives me crazy. “You know what?” With that snotty tone, or — worse — that furious brush-off that’s accompanied by a dismissive wave of the hand. “You know what?” means that somebody’s about to tell you to shut up in one way or another. “You know what?” means “You know nothing.” “You don’t matter.” “You suck.”
Online the equivalent is that snotty paragraph prelude “Um…?” or “Uh,” or even worse “IIRC,” which took two years for me to realize means “If I recall correctly,” which is an even snottier “Um” or “Uh…?” Why not just make an emoticon of the middle finger?
It’s everywhere. “You know what?” It’s all the time. People say it whenever they’ve made a decision, when they’re making a decision, when they’ve lost their point, when they’ve given up on something. “You know what? It doesn’t matter.” “You know what? I’ll have the salmon.”
“You know what?” Stop it.
I’m not alone, here. Do you say it? Are you aware of how often you use it? Do you know you sound like you hate the person you’re talking to? Do you do that little cock of the head and the squint of the eye, that superior lip purse before you quickly spit out those three words of assholitry?
“You know what?”
It’s in movies, magazines, and every third minute of The Real World. Just about every other joke on Friends begins with those three words. I can hear them in a Ross accent, a Chandler accent, a Rachel accent and a Phoebe accent. Four different ways to read “You know what?” Four different ways to be a jerk-off.
Just listen one day and count how many times you hear that phrase. It’s getting to where I notice it all the time now. On the radio, during my friends’ conversations, on forums. Maybe I’m the only one who thinks it’s so damn rude.
On a completely different note, the other day a group of my friends were standing around doing impressions of each other, as comics are prone to do when approaching boredom. We were all making exaggerated postures of each other, mimicking our speech patterns and facial expressions. “I can do Pam,” Liz said. I’d never seen anyone do an impression of me, so I was interested.
Liz then made a smirk, leaned her head back and nodded, lowering her eyes until they were almost shut. “That’s funny,” she said, nodding. “That’s good.”
Then she opened her eyes and looked at me. “Yeah?” she asked, looking for approval. “Good, huh?” The other girls were giggling. “That is so Pam!” one shrieked.
Liz’s impression looked exactly like a face my father made whenever I got him to laugh. She had never met him. “That must be a good impression of me,” I told her. “Because that was a perfect impression of my dad.”
I’m really craving some Salt Lick. It happens once a month. You know what? Don’t judge me.
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