Thursday, November 4, 2010

I Don't Do I Don't Do

I like the English language. I like the Singlish language too, maybe because that's one way in which my cultures come together and mix with all the ease of oil and water.

But I can't claim to be a fan of the things the Americans have done to English. They change things for no apparent reason, they simplify things that never needed simplifying and complicate things that were nice and simple in the first place.

What was so wrong about a lift that it became the four syllable mouthful of "elevator"? Why did our good sturdy pavements change into sidewalks and, the most troubling of the examples for sure, why did an arse trade places with an ass and confuse the hell out of donkey fans and arse kickers everywhere? Can you imagine the confusion if you lived in the US and wanted to hold an arse kicking party?

My most recent gripe is the continued unnecessary use of the phrase "I don't do...".

I was listening to a radio programme, or should that be program, the other day. There was a jokey feature in which the roving reporter had to go on a rollercoaster and sing a song, for the listeners to guess the song and win prizes galore.

The presenter introduced the feature, sensationalising it as they always do, and added that it was extra hard for the reporter to have done because "you don't do rollercoasters do you?"

I hate this fucking phrase, really I do. It's grammatically incorrect, it's overly dramatic, it's almost always factually incorrect and I believe it's jumping on that very American obsession about being obsessive. Everyone these days has to be "a little OCD" about something.

In my day it was perfectly acceptable to decide not to like rollercoasters much. We felt no compulsion to make all our dislikes into major psychological disorders, ones that Miley Cyrus and the cast of Glee all have.

I was at home with K the other day and making dinner. I asked her to chop some onions. Her response?

"Oh Dad, do I have to? Only I don't really do knives"

"You what?" I said, while screwing up my face in that confused, puzzled and disbelieving Dad look.

"You don't do knives?" I asked.

"No I just don''t like them" she replied.

I shook my head with exasperation, then I chopped the onions, that's how annoyed I was.

I was chatting to David Blacker the other day and the subject of pants came up. That's pants in the proper British way of underwear, not the American trouser thing. I told DB about the recent tremendous pants I've bought, the extra strong ones in Odel. His response?

"I don't do pants"

I frowned and then listened to his rather sad and poignant explanation.

Apparently when he was a young lad he was assaulted in the pants section of House Of Fashions by a gang of middle aged Muslim women. They stole his packet of cigarettes and his membership card for The Library, that nightclub in the Cinnamon Lakeside, though it was of course called the Transasia in those days. He's never fully recovered and so, to this day, never wears pants. If you see him just have a quick grope if you doubt me.

Keep all that to yourself though won't you.

Bloody Americans.

That's why I don't do I don't do.

1 comment:

Serendib_Isle said...

Bloody Americans. Not only they don’t do; they dig!

You dig?