The Tell-Tale Heart of the Matter: Some Little Habits Can Drive You To Murder

I have this friend.  A really good friend; someone whose company I enjoy, whose friendship I cherish.  She is a delightful, bubbly person and I am about this close to smothering her, hacking up the body and burying the pieces under the floorboards.

My friend has picked up a little verbal habit.   She has all but abandoned the periods in her speech, and ends every other sentence with a trailing “so…”, her voice dropping, the dots practically audible.  It’s a harmless habit, really, but it’s reached the point where I wait for it.  I can’t concentrate on what she’s saying because I’m laying bets with myself on how the sentence will end. 

Conversation with her goes something like this:

Me: “How is the coffee?”
Her: “Too hot to drink, so…”
Me, after a pause: “Do you want some cream?”
Her:  “No, I’m trying to lose some weight.   I’ve cut out cream and sugar, so…”

I wait before I respond, because the lack of a definite ending to the sentence leads me to believe she is going to say something else.

“So?” I want to scream “So WHAT?  WHAT?  Where is the explanation you imply is forthcoming?”

Eye see you, so....

But I don’t scream.  I just smile.  I think (more and more often lately) of Edgar Allan Poe’s wonderful, terrible story “The Tell-Tale Heart”.  How the narrator’s friend had one milky, white eye, probably a cataract.  Poor fellow couldn’t help it.  How the narrator loved his friend, but came to detest that eye, staring, staring at him all the time.  How he finally had to kill his friend to shutter the detestable orb once and for all.  He buried the body under his floorboards.

It doesn’t seem such an unreasonable response, the more I think about it.

To make things worse, this verbal tic is spreading.  I’ve noticed more people have adopted the trailing “so…”.  I’ve even found myself doing it.  I must be more vigilant with my speech, and less critical of others.

Because the only part of our house with wood floors is the dining room.  And it’s not that big.

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About pegoleg

R-A-M-B-L-I-N-G-S, Ram...Blin!
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52 Responses to The Tell-Tale Heart of the Matter: Some Little Habits Can Drive You To Murder

  1. bigsheepcommunications says:

    Maybe, in the interest of friendship, long life, and the avoidance of incarceration, you should gently mention this habit to your friend and let her know that it’s driving you very very close to the edge. She probably doesn’t even know she’s doing it.

    Like

  2. Jane says:

    When we were kids, and someone said, “so” – we would reply: “sew, sew, buttons on your underwear.”

    Try it and see what happens!

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Your brother sometimes says that – I was thinking about it when I wrote this. I suspect I’d get a blank look if I said it to her, but it’s worth a try.

      Like

  3. Jackie says:

    Oh, how painful these things can be once we notice they exist. I have a similar pet peeve with mispronounced words and the “um” and “like” repetitions. I don’t think it’s worthy of murder, per say, but I certainly blow up. I broke up with my first bf because he was a poor speller. So…

    Oh, and now that you’ve made it clear you’re willing to go to such lengths for peace, know that you can be held responsible for the murder of anyone within a 30 mile radius of you that has an annoying speech habit. It’s on the Interwebz now. You’ve got motive. So…

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      The key part is “once we notice they exist”. Now that I’ve pointed out this particular pet peeve, I’m sure you’ll be noticing it wherever you go, and soon you will be examining the flooring in your home with interest.

      Like

  4. Tori Nelson says:

    I met a chronic So-er just a few days ago. Within ten minutes my eye was twitching and I’d nearly scratched a hole into my knee.

    Like

  5. Tar-Buns says:

    So, like, what’s your point, dude? It’s like, you know, like, not a big deal, um… so …

    All make me want to gag – me or them. Try mirroring their ticks as subtly as you can in your conversational contributions. (say that quickly 3 times)

    Happy Monday. Blew diet big this weekend and you KNOW MK’s sweated off a gazillion lbs this past week in the heat. Sigh…

    Like

  6. brainrants says:

    I know people who begin every sentence with ‘so.’ I thought that was irritating, and then I find this blog post. Feels like a toss-up to me. Just imagine if someone started and finished sentences with ‘so’ … *shudder.*

    Like

  7. Perhaps you could become equally as annoying… Every time you hear “so” at the end of what should be a sentence, at the top of your lungs belt out “a needle pulling thread, La – a note to follow so, Ti – a drink with jam and bread, That will bring us back to Do Oh Oh Oh.”

    Hopefully she’ll get it!

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      I like the way you think! I’ve always wanted to belt out songs like I was living in a musical, anyway, and what better than The Sound of Music? If that doesn’t teach her to mend her ways (get it – so, sew, mend??) – I’ll keep it up until MY version of Climb Every Mountain makes her take a vow of silence.

      Like

    • Wazeau says:

      This is exactly the response that came to my mind! Belting out the remainder of the song!

      I have a boss who NEVER finishes a sentence. He will pause mid-phrase then begin another sentence. I cannot hear a word he says anymore, I am so focused on waiting for the end of the world that will be ushered in when he does, finally, finish a thought. Grammatically.

      Like

  8. So… relieved! Glad someone else is driven mad by people who can’t speak properly. I too have noticed what brainrants pointed out – very intelligent people on NPR and C-SPAN start lots of sentences with “so.” It’s odd. I have a harder time with malapropisms, so… I wonder if your friend writes the way she talks. Maybe you could limit your conversations to email for a while to give yourself a break from the fury.

    Like

  9. misswhiplash says:

    I know how infuriating it can be. My granddaughter was always saying ‘yer doin’ my ead in’ to nearly everything that anybody ever said to her and it drove me mad and made me very cross.
    have you tried speaking to your friend about this…so?

    Like

  10. Libertarian says:

    Hope I’m not the guilty on one on this, sis!!

    Like

  11. The "rooster" says:

    Well…, I’m probably driving you crazy by continually/constantly pointing out how much the very cool people are only capable of using one and only one descriptive word in their vocabularistic arsenal: “AMAZING.”

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      I try to be sensitive to your irrational hatred of Amazing, but it’s hard to stifle. That should make me more forgiving of others’ bad verbal habits, shouldn’t it?

      Like

  12. You are describing a contraction with nothing to contract. I have noticed this more often at the beginning of sentences, and even blog posts.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      I sometimes start sentences with “so” as part of a breezy, “write-like-you-talk” style. Maybe people are gritting their teeth in response, Yikes!

      Like

  13. You probably couldn’t slap her and say, “I thought you were passing out instead of finishing your sentence, so I wanted to revive you to find out how it ends.”

    Like

  14. Oh, sh!t. I love this entry, but I’m less thrilled with how it’s just highlighted the fact I am guilty of this. I do not want to be guilty of this, so . . .

    . . . I’d better keep a mind to correcting this, even if I do live on the second floor of an apartment complex!

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Here am I, all righteous about the trailing “so” speck in my neighbor’s eye, not noticing the huge prefix “so” log in my own eye. I wouldn’t recommend the Poe method of body disposal in your particular situation.

      Like

  15. I like Chris’ suggestion…less jail time than the murder thing…

    Thanks for the giggle, Peg (and I can’t stand people who can’t speak properly either!).

    Wendy

    Like

  16. I’m giving you permission to tell your friend this bothers you. If she gets upset, blame it on me.

    Like

  17. Snoring Dog Studio says:

    Remembering Diane Keaton’s trailer in Woody Allen’s movie, Annie Hall: “la di da, la di da. It’s easy to fall into this kind of thing. Why is it so difficult to end resoundingly on a period?

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      With women, and especially young women, I see it as part of the whole “talking in questions” phenomenon. Some don’t trust their own judgement enough to make firm, declarative sentences. So there!!

      Like

  18. missumerica says:

    OMG!!! I thought of you this week! (stalkerish, I know :-/) We took a BIG family vaca to the beach and stayed in a beautiful house with the sisters, mom, kids, niece, nephew, etc. 2 days into the trip my mom comPlains that she can’t sleep because she keeps hearing beeping from her bedroom. Everyone thought/knew she was crazy until my sister & I “humored” her and sat quietly on her bed. FINALLY we heard it – at regular intervals – like a beating heart! Long story short(er) we tracked the beeping to an outdoor storage closet with a smoke alarm. The battery was dying and it was beeping every minute or so. We had to call a locksmith before mom went COMPLETELY insane. And THEN I remembered your post… Not POE but POST! Yay, Peg! I thought if your post before Poe and his genius self! That’s HUGE 🙂

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Yeah! But the really important thing is that your mom’s sanity was vindicated before ya’ll slapped her into Shady Acres. Hope you had a wonderful time.

      Like

  19. I worked in a factory for years, and I couldn’t believe how the English language deteriorated when one of the guys got angry. Their conversation went something like this:
    “*%*$#* &^%*#! The F….kin’ machine quit again, so I called the F…kin’ boss, and he told me that the F…kin’ maintenance department couldn’t get to it for an hour, so I’ve been standing around here like a F…kin’ idiot!”
    I have a tendency to translate conversations very literally, so the thoughts running through my head were something like: “Wow, I didn’t know the machine could do that. Perhaps it just wants a little privacy. And now I know why the maintenance department was so slow, and the boss was always so difficult to find.”

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Tee hee!

      We were talking about this at lunch just yesterday, how some people use the F bomb the same way they use “um” or “like”, as unconscious conversation filler. My daughter thinks these fillers allow thoughts to flow more eloquently. I said thinking before you spoke to avoid these would only impede your flow at first, until you learned new habits. What do you think?

      Like

      • When a person uses the same word over and over again (and often in the wrong context) I just want to walk away. I hate having to sift through a mass of useless fillers or modifiers during everyday conversation. People need to take a moment, think about what they are going to say, and say it, not dump the work of translation upon the listener.

        Like

  20. egills says:

    I feel your pain, but what irritates me the most is sloppy pronunciation, if a word has a ‘t’ in it I would like to hear it….

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      You are so right! Except maybe for “often”?

      I must admit to having a problem with the words “for” (I tend to say “fer”) and “yes” (I tend to say “yeah”). I should tape myself speaking so I can be more aware of these things and try to fix them.

      Like

  21. Pingback: An Evening With Some Potheads « Twist365

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