Life I’m Worried
posted by February 25 at 12:57 PMon
When I moved to the Pacific Northwest 12 years ago, one of the first things I noticed was the popularity of the expression: “Right on.”
You didn’t have to restrict it to its actual meaning: “exactly” or “well done” or “hurray.” It was a malleable expression that worked its way into every single conversation.
Someone would tell you about their love life troubles, and in the pause, you’d say: “Right on.” Someone would tell you that you inadvertently cut in line, you’d say: “Right on.” Someone would tell you they had to leave town on an emergency because their mother was deathly ill, and you’d say: “Right on.” Someone would tell you they didn’t have that $20 they owed you, and you’d say: “Right on.”
And, of course, it also retained its original meaning. Someone would explain why tort reform was a GOP plot against consumer rights, and you’d say: “Right on.” Or if you scored tickets to a show you wanted to see, you’d say: “Right on.”
I don’t know when the term fell out of fashion. 1999? But in recent months, I’ve noticed a new expression that’s seeping into the vocabulary: “No worries.”
Currently, it seems restricted to its basic meaning—”no problem” or more loosely, “I understand.” But that last interpretation is dangerous ground. And I’m feeling it shift into that annoying zone where it starts to mean everything.
Now, I’m okay with a little lazy Nadsat—teenage vocabulary of the future—but “no worries” is just too happy and stonery.
There are worries, people. There are worries.