If I had a nickel for every time someone said 'Oops' in my family, I could have easily joined Bill Gates on the list for the top 10 wealthiest people in America by now.
'Oops' now heads the list of commonly used words and phrases in our day to day life such as 'No', 'OMG', 'I am hungry', 'Can I have a snack?', 'Do I have to?', 'Are we there yet?' and 'Stop bugging me'. The reason is very simple. We believe in cutting to the chase and 'Oops' allows us to do just that.
To my question ‘Why didn’t you switch off the stove 5 minutes after I left like I told you to?’, instead of a long winded explanation like ’Are you sure you told me mom? Coz I didn’t hear you at all. May be I had the MP3 on. Next time make sure I don’t have my earplugs on before you leave me with a responsibility like this. Gosh mom, all you have to do is tap me on the shoulder before talking to me. That would have saved you the saucepan’, my eldest daughter now simply says 'Oops'. What brevity in expression! Smart girl!
Before the advent of the word 'Oops', English language was elaborate, descriptive and tiresome. It took an eternity to say anything. For example, BO(before oops) if you had wandered into your dining room at 7.00 am one Saturday morning with eyes still half closed, dressed in your worn out pajamas, scratching your legs and the drool not yet dried around your mouth, only to discover all your neighbors sitting around your kitchen table staring at you because you forgot that it was your turn to host the monthly neighborhood watch meeting, you would have had to say something along the lines of "Hi...............what are you...I..........I just.........I didn't...I mean........." and run out screaming. But now voila, simply say 'Oops' and walk away for that says it all. For such a seemingly small and simple word, it sure packs a lot of meaning.
It is a shame that Shakespeare, Milton, Keats and Shelley were deprived of this miracle word during their time. How the history of literature would have changed! If I tried a bit, I could almost hear the wistful sighs floating from their graves. Let us take a look at Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet.
Romeo has come disguised with a mask to a party at the House of Capulets, the sworn enemy of his family, the Montagues. Juliet sees him and wants to know his identity and sends her Nurse to find out some information about him. When the Nurse comes back, the conversation goes like this:
His name is Romeo, and a Montague;
The only son of your great enemy.
My only love sprung from my only hate!
Too early seen unknown, and known too late!
Prodigious birth of love it is to me,
That I must love a loathed enemy.
Come on! All the girl had to do was say 'Oops' and move on. Why all the big words that no one can understand? Shakespeare could have saved himself barrels of ink and lots of wear on the feather. Poor guy!
Coming back from the 16th century, let me tell you why I think ‘Oops’ is an indispensable word for our family. Our vocal chords have been resting easy ever since we stumbled upon this tiny miracle. Reading below, you will see the wisdom of speaking less and saying a lot.
Me: Did you remember to wear your eyeglasses at school?
Me: Did you mail the tax payment to the IRS?
Daughter: Where is the binder for my Math class? Did you forget to buy it at Wal-Mart this morning?
Husband: How long are you going to be blogging? Is lunch ready?
Hold on, folks! I am getting a call on my cell phone. Will be back to blog in a second………………………
‘Hi sweetie. What? Are you waiting for me to pick you up at school? Oops.’
Run run run run run………………………….