Are you an idiot who is constantly not hearing people despite not having any diagnosable hearing issues?
If so, at your disposal is a smorgasbord of phrases prompting clarification for words your brain steadfastly refuses to process.
The dilemma that keeps you up at night and causes you to be weary in the morning as you prepare for the shit deluge the day has in store for you, is which phrase to deftly deploy to minimize the embarrassment of getting caught not giving a fuck about anything unrelated to your narcissism.
Given the plethora of options—e.g. "excuse me?", "what’s that?", "can you repeat that, asshole?"—just to name the three most popular ones, the indecision can be paralyzing, perhaps making you rattled and forcing you to blurt out, “what did you say you old bag?” when your grandmother asks if you want another cookie.
Those of us who are gifted and cultured understand that most human speech isn’t worth hearing. But until you’ve ascended to the Nietzschean Superman level, you will be too meek to habitually block verbal sewage from flooding your brain via your ear canal.
Yet despite being a hopeless loser, there’s still hope for you. Instead of vacillating between the two extremes of feeble utterances like, “excuse me dear sir, please repeat yourself”, and psychotic outbursts like, “WHY DON’T YOU ENUNCIATE YOUR WORDS BETTER, MORON?!”, you can master the invaluable art of asking someone to repeat a hackneyed observation or an asinine question without shattering relationships or raising suspicions about your mental faculties.
Below are the 6 most commonly misheard questions and statements, and the optimal corresponding clarifying phrase.
What are you up to today?
This question is a veritable dagger to a sane person's peace of mind. It's also a dagger to an insane person's peace of mind. But since any question can possibly function as a dagger to an insane person's wellbeing, it's prudent to not dwell on the impact this particular question has on a crazy lady or gentleman.
A daily routine is called a daily routine because it’s routine—i.e. mundane—and therefore your reply will be a trash heap of insufferable clichés stacked on top of each other like a hideously mismanaged game of Tetris.
According to the prestigious Institute of Questionable Metaphors (IQM), the monstrous brainwaves produced by saying things like, “running errands”, "hanging out", “mispronouncing words”, "catching up on email", etc. are in fact, brain-tsunamis, causing mass devastation to the brain's happy neurons.
Why subject yourself to uttering these inane phrases? Instead, scout your arsenal of clarifiers. In this case, go with:
“Could you repeat that by asking a question that doesn’t cause me to resent you?”
Alternatively, if you wish to impress your assailant by showing off your knowledge of neurobiology, you can say, "Could you repeat that by asking a question that doesn't cause a braintsunami to flood my beach homes?"
If the person shoots you a quizzical look, explain that "beach homes" is a metaphor for neurons that release endorphins. If you find the person attractive, now would also be the optimal time to initiate courtship.
I am so tired.
Because everyone over the age of 10 is always tired, it's highly unlikely that you were just cannonballed by a platitude. More likely, you misheard what the person said, and the correct reply would be:
“For a second there I thought you said you were tired. But I know you wouldn’t say dumb and obvious shit just to kill time. So, come again?”
Where did the time go?
Narrow your eyes, and mutter, “What did you say, fuckface?”
You can replace ‘fuckface’ with ‘dickface’, but be careful: some people’s faces are in fact shaped like dicks, so if you opt for dickface make sure the person you’re talking to doesn’t have phallic features, as that might cause offense.
I am so hungry
The average citizen of a first world country stuffs food down their gullet fifteen times a day every day. Therefore, the odds that someone could get to the point of feeling hunger are somewhere between getting struck by lightning and the self checkout robot not scolding you for placing unscanned items in the bagging area*.
"Why didn’t you get a snack at any point between being full and starting to get hungry or am I hard of hearing?"
*"Please remove unscanned item from the bagging area" is like a lifeguard aggressively blowing his whistle to get you to swim closer to shore even though you are well within the designated swimming area. You swim closer and closer, but the whistling persists. Exasperated, you swim to the point where you're not even swimming anymore--you're crawling and you can smell the plastic beach toys scattered inches from your face--but the whistling continues unabated. The lifeguard is red-faced from violent whistling, and all the items in the bagging area have been scanned. You plead with the lifeguard, and swear you will never use the self-checkout lane again, and yet, the whistling only intensifies.
Can you play “Crying” by Aerosmith?
This is only applicable if you’re employed full or part time as a radio DJ, and a listener calls you to request a song. Here's what you say:
"Are you calling from the past when the internet didn’t exist? You can literally listen to any song ever recorded any time on your phone. Why did you call into a radio station and sit on hold for thirty minutes just to request a song that you could have heard at any point between acquiring the urge to hear it and requesting it be played over an antiquated medium?"
What is your account number?
When you call your cable company, gas company, or some other such establishment, you will be asked to enter your personal information details before being transferred to a customer service rep, who will then ask you to verify your identity again.
WHY? The only logical explanation is that the rep wants to hedge against the risk that your identity was stolen right after you entered your personal information and before you were connected to the rep. (I guess with how long some of these wait times are, that's not outside the realm of possibility. Heyo!)
Often, in reverifying your identity, the agent will ask for your account number. And since nobody knows their account number for any account they own, you want to make sure that the agent wasn't making a super funny joke by coming back with:
"Are you fucking kidding me?"
The phraseological indecision stemming from the versatility of the English language can lead to some uncomfortable moments. So next time your brain locks out someone’s pointless chatter, consult this handy guide for the best reply.