Wednesday, September 08, 2010
Current mood: Argumentative
You know what I really hate? I really hate when I thank someone for something – anything, really – and they respond with “no problem”. I don’t know why this bugs me as much as it does, but it seems snarky and dismissive. I would rather hear the classic “you’re welcome”, or my personal favorite – “my pleasure”, which provides the same closure to the thanks, only with a colorful flourish.
“No problem” should only be used in instances where strength, cunning or loyalty is involved.
Example 1: “Can you lift that boulder, Hercules?” “No problem…”
Example 2: “Do you think you can defuse the bomb before the orphanage is destroyed?” “No problem.”
Example 3: “That sonofabitch put me here – if only he would have a tragic accident, he couldn’t give testimony – you think you can take care of that, Chicky?” Chicky: “No problem.”
Used in these contexts, “no problem” is comforting; heroic, even. No longer the dismissive response that alludes that one hasn’t wasted too much of the thankee’s time, it becomes a strong, positive phrase – “you betcha– can-do. I got this one…”
Other acceptable means as a response to “thank you” could be “not at all”, which is breezy and courteous; and “it was nothing…”, which comes off as self-deprecating and humble. On the other hand, one sprightly offshoot of “no problem” can be perfectly acceptable as a response as well. An offhanded “no-problemo” is infectious and cute, especially when used with the forefinger/thumb circle “okay” hand gesture.
I’m not trying to be sensitive, here – but it seems a crime with all the delightful options open to us along these lines, that we should settle for a lumbering phrase such as “no problem” to respond to the simple words “thank you”. Let’s get back some of our grammatical class – first of all, stop abbreviating every goddamn word in your text messages – it gives me a headache to try and decipher all the “How R U” and “LOL” and “ROFLOL” and “OMG” messages that are sent. I can figure them out with enough time and some of the biggies have been committed to memory, but for Chrissakes, if there is a bomb that is going to go off in the orphanage that I might have to heroically disarm, the last thing I need to get is this: “OMG F’ng TNT BAM 2 scared 2 move – pls SOS.”
Okay, that’s another battle, but for now, can we at least consider putting a little bit of thought and feeling into responding to someone who has taken the time to appreciate our solid efforts and offer up a “thank you”? Let’s give them a heady “Not At All!”, and add a jaunty wave if you like. Save the “No problem” for when you have to move a boulder, Hercules.
Watch Jerry bitch about stuff in his video blog at: