Monday, August 20, 2012

So, this is about the word, so

This article was published in the August 19 Virginian-Pilot Forum section most likely because the paper felt everyone needed a break from politics. I don't know if anyone else has observed this trend but I have been hearing it everywhere.
The article was accompanied by a picture of Hope Solo and a caption that read: "So, apparently, it's 'Hope Solo,' not 'So Lo.'"
So, this is about the word, so
So I was listening to an interview today on television, which reinforced for me that a brand new fad is combing the country.

So you might ask, “So what is this revolutionary craze sweeping the nation, and possibly the world?"

So I will tell you. “So” is it.

So what is it, you ask?

“So” is it, I tell you. So let me explain.
So what I am noticing is that every day more questions being asked by interviewers are being answered by statements beginning with the word “so”.
So maybe you are thinking that this might be simply a case of Beverly Hills teenage valley girls speak and surely not the way the civilized folks speak.
So you would be wrong to assume this. So let me tell you how widespread this so-so new way of talking has become.
So I have heard economists begin every sentence with so. So I have heard Congressmen, diplomats and scientists begin every sentence with so.
So, today, an astronaut talking about the vehicle that will land in a few hours on the planet Mars, described what would happen in these words.
“So the modular carrying the rover will hit the Mars atmosphere. So when it does a parachute will deploy and—”
So, and so what?
So what happens next isn’t really important.
So what is important is why does every sentence have to begin with the word “so?”
So didn’t we already go through this nightmare with the word “like?”
So didn’t we learn our lesson?
So who starts these trends?
So I think maybe some public relations firm must hear someone, somewhere start a sentence with “so” and decide that it sounds just different enough to make ordinary sentences and ideas a little more appealing and so it starts advising its clients to employ this unique new way of talking but then other public relations firms latch on to the idea and it starts spreading like so many cultured cells in a Petri dish.
So some people even hear it on their own and are attracted to it like so many flies to flypaper and before you know it, every Tom, Dick and Harry so and so is starting every stupid sentence with “so.”
So I was wondering if this was simply an American thing or if the whole world had jumped on the “so” bandwagon. So I turned to London where the Olympics, the largest international gathering of athletes were taking place.
So I hear an interviewer ask a girl on the Mexican soccer team who does she think is the best female soccer goalie in the world at this time.
“Solo,” she answers cautiously, perhaps not wanting to offend her own goalkeeper.
So I am at a complete loss because for the life of me I have never heard of a soccer goalie named Lo.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

September 1973: An Up and Down Month


This story was published this week by the The Whistling Fire web magazine. It describes two events that happened within the space of a few weeks back in September 1973. Hell on Earth, a love story is all about seemingly unrelated events proving eventually to be significant.
The novels Postal Service and Hell on Earth, a love story and my 30-year career in the Postal Service were the result of events set into motion in September 1973—a real up and down month, but a very significant one.

September 1973: An Up and Down Month
                                                                            September 5, 1973—Began classes at Cal State Long Beach

I hadn’t really expected to be going back to school.  God knows my time at Lowell Tech had been long enough and the five years I spent there hadn’t kept me out of Vietnam or gotten me a job.
 For sure it was a good experience but I think everyone, including myself, was hoping for more.  I don’t mean that in a bad way. Hell, hoping for more is the driving force that pushes us all. And when the more isn’t what you expect it to be then you hope for something else.

This Teaching Credential Program at Cal State Long Beach was that something else.  Things were finally coming together.  This time I was majoring in something I actually believed in.  And I was sure it would lead to a job and an opportunity to continue writing.  At last, I would be able to look my father in the eye and we would both know that everything was going to be all right.

What he had said the morning I left for boot camp at Fort Dix was still fresh in my mind.

 “I hope the army makes a man out of you,” he said, frustrated by my lack of direction. I have to admit, he had a point.

 “I hope so, too,” was my understated response.

So I went to Vietnam, did some writing for a military magazine and did the soldier thing in the form of guard duty on the third security ring around the Bien Hoa Airfield.  The general feeling was that if anyone got through the first two rings they’d have to be really good and we weren’t going to stop them no way, no how.  Still they gave us M-16’s and the code word of the day.

By the time I got out of the army I was more than ready to get back on the road to my future—a journey I has first started in 1964 and detoured from so many times I was losing count. That’s why I was returning to school. Only this time the plan wasn’t to go to college. This time I was going to college with a plan.