There it was. Right in the middle of Coronation Street.
“It is what it is,” said that guy with the brain tumour to his ex.
I wanted to cringe; for the sofa to swallow me up.
You’d think you’d be safe in Wetherfield, wouldn’t you?
A town where the streets are still cobbled, they eat hot-pots for lunch instead of chicken tikka mayo wraps and the pub doesn’t have a for sale sign over the door.
I can cope with the increasingly bizarre storylines; the odd cross-dressing chap copping of with the local hairdresser and a woman selling her kid to her sister.
But when I’m watching what is as great a British institution as Morecambe and Wise, fish and chips and tinned pilchards on toast for Sunday tea, I do not want my ears assaulted by those supposedly trendy but highly irritating Americanisms now littering our language.
The utterers of these utterly meaningless phrases think they sound cool and clever - and they are multiplying. Despite being a long, long way from coolness, let alone America, folk are busily telling other folk that at the end of the day, they really nailed it.
Next thing you know, Dev’ll have Sunita working “24-7” in that poky little corner shop.
And Norris will be stomping out of Emily Bishop’s bellowing “End of” over a dandruffy shoulder.
Boy even used the it one the other day, a sure sign, I feel, of just how far these sayings have wormed their way in.
I’d asked him how something was going.
It was one of those probing, mother wants to nosey-know questions, carefully wrapped up in a tissue of faux nonchalance.
“Ok,” he shrugged. “It is what it is.” Which meant what, pray tell?
Precisely, exactly, nothing at all.
If it is what it is, then I am none the wiser unless I know what it actually is.
On reflection, maybe that’s why he uttered it - it is, after all, the perfect fob-off.
And my boy’s definition of cool is to spurn anything everyone else thinks is trendy.
You should see his Facebook page.
Should I have peeked? Maybe not. But then I’d never have known it’s written in the social networker’s equivalent of longhand.
I’m surprised he didn’t select italic script.
Should he be messaged by someone who appears semi-literate out of either affectation or sheer laziness, he will reply in perfect English, every comma in its place. In his eyes, it’s the perfect put-down.
If ever I say “It is what it is”, I want to be shot.
Though talking of put-downs, I give myself permission to hurl a “Whadever” if I see fit. It is the swiftest way to send my husband up the wall mid-tiff.
Instead of wasting my breath on self-defence, I utter the word (which used to be two until the damned Yanks adulterated it), airily dismissing him with a wave of the hand. And then I walk away.
We English were turning phrases long before we discovered America, though. They were brilliant. We should resurrect them. Particularly my grandpa’s.
“Whenever you’re passing,” he would say with a cheery smile, “just pass.”