“ON THE WAY...” or “Just Say ‘No’ To Syntax Abuse”

This is a discussion on “ON THE WAY...” or “Just Say ‘No’ To Syntax Abuse” within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; I was inspired by an article sent to me about the translation of words when spoken by females and what they "actually" mean... I thought ...

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Thread: “ON THE WAY...” or “Just Say ‘No’ To Syntax Abuse”

  1. #1
    Member Array tamworth's Avatar
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    “ON THE WAY...” or “Just Say ‘No’ To Syntax Abuse”

    I was inspired by an article sent to me about the translation of words
    when spoken by females and what they "actually" mean... I thought I
    could write an essay on the troubles I've experienced with ONE phrase
    in particular. I googled it and I haven't found any other rants
    (essays of 'venting' or 'blowing off steam' in a humorous way to
    easily get some frustration off one's chest without getting into
    trouble) on this subject, so here we go! (drum roll....)


    “ON THE WAY...” or “Just Say ‘No’ To Syntax Abuse”
    a rant by "Tamworth"

    What does “on the way” mean? Many people use the phrase “I’m on the way” to indicate to someone that they are closing the gap between parties; the distance between the person asking and the person telling is getting shorter as they say “I’m on the way.” This is, in its purest form, the correct use of the phrase. On the other hand, some people use “on the way” as a euphemism for whatever the heck they might be doing as long as they’re planning to leave in the near future (which could be anywhere within half an hour to the next time they see that glacier pass by…). This latter use is very abusive in many forms. It is abusive to the English language, twisting and turning the actual meaning to whatever they please. It is abusive to themselves, because they end up with the stigma of social apathy. They apparently don’t care enough about whoever is waiting on them, so they don’t feel as though an accurate ETA (estimated time of arrival) is worthwhile. It is, however, mostly abusive to the person receiving the message. When someone asks, and is answered “I’m on the way right now,” they default to the calculation of distance multiplied by speed equals time to be expected. To the contrary, they have been despicably insulted, having the word ‘CHUMP’ metaphorically tattooed on their forehead.

    The syntax abusers’ reasons for their poor use of “on the way” vary from person to person. Some say they do it to keep things on an even keel. This person is afraid that everybody will start to nag at them. They figure if someone thinks they’re actually on their way, then they’ll stay calm. Some “on the way” abusers do it just for the pure fun of it. Unfortunately, asking forgiveness at the end of stringing someone along doesn’t always end up as easy as they fool themselves into thinking it will be. Some like to seem good to others, even if they’re in the process of letting them down. This is the usual self-destructive behavior we see in a lot of abuser-types. Some are of the compulsive liar category. They can’t help it. They tell you they’re “on their way” even though it is a lie, and they know it. But they know they can also make up another lie to cover up their being late. A lot of people abuse the phrase not even knowing it. They have been born with a lack of sense for time. They actually think they’re on their way, not thinking about what they still have to do before they can actually leave. This is the most humbling form of syntax-abuse to witness. It’s very heart-breaking to see people try to survive while living this kind of lifestyle.

    It is because of these “on the way” abusers, that I have come up with a series of degrees of “on the way.” Through my intensive studies in “onthewayology,” I have discovered the phrase in question being used to describe all sorts of activities where if they hadn’t been asked, they wouldn’t even consider themselves “on the way.” Here is my suggested entry, “Degrees of On the Way”:

    1. “On the way” from home:
    a. Actually and actively driving or walking to the destination. This is the original intended use for “on the way.” The distance between parties is literally being shortened.
    b. Getting ready to be on the way. Just sitting down into the car, just finished getting shoes on and ready to open the door to walk to the destination. This was the first break, the point-of-no-return, where the phrase was violated and it was discovered by syntax-abusers that they could twist the meaning.
    c. About to go find shoes, or looking for some lost car keys. There is obviously no shortening of the distance between the two parties in discussion, so to the strictly logical viewer, telling someone that they are “on the way” is just an outright lie at this point.
    d. Just getting dressed, haven’t even realized that the car keys are lost yet, still don’t even know where they’re headed, but all the same, they’re “on the way.” Don’t expect any phone calls to update you on their progress, they’ll just keep on going until they’re ready to be “on the way” for real. Then, if you ask them why they were so late, they’ll get very frustrated and show a skill in the practice of redirection that would blow David Copperfield away.

    2. “On the way” from out and about:
    a. Actually and actively driving or walking to the destination. This is the original intended use for “on the way.” The distance between parties is literally being shortened.
    b. Getting ready to be on the way. Just sitting down into the car, in the middle of putting the shopping in the trunk. This was the first break, the point-of-no-return, where the phrase was violated and it was discovered by syntax-abusers that they could twist the meaning.
    c. Still standing in line for check-out. They won’t tell you how long the line is. Even if they tell you how many people they are waiting on, they won’t tell you if they all have lots of groceries or just a few items each. There is obviously no shortening of the distance between the two parties in discussion, so to the strictly logical viewer, telling someone that they are “on the way” is just an outright lie at this point.
    d. On the way to the check-out. They’re actually fooling themselves at this point. They know very well that you called to ask when they’ll be home, so when they say they’re “on the way,” they carefully and maliciously exclude any mention of the destination they’re talking about. In this case, they’re talking about the check-out as the destination they’re “on the way” to. So as far as everybody is concerned, then, they are “on the way.” This is not only an outright lie at this point, it’s quickly becoming an insult. We all know that they will no doubt be distracted by more items on their way to the check-out. They will probably even have time to remember one more thing they had on the list they’d forgotten at home, and will go looking for it, of course giving in to distractions on the way there as well. And we all know they won’t call us back to let us know they’ve diverted form their route towards the checkout. They’ve already told us they’re “on the way.” They know they can probably blame it on traffic or a very slow check-out line in the end, anyway.

    Anything beyond “on the way in the 1.b or the 2.b degree” is deserving of a major discussion, one-on-one. This is what we call a “deprogramming” session, to be taken very seriously. You must be very careful not to get in trouble with ‘kidnapping’ or ‘unlawful arrest’ litigations, but you must sit them down and DILIGENTLY teach them what is actually meant by the phrase “on the way.” This sort of syntax abuse is very serious, and probably was reached by a gateway abuse of lesser grammatical errors, which while annoying and self-deprecating, didn’t cause the pain that the abuse of “on the way” has caused.

    It is my firm belief that if we use these deprogramming sessions to teach the afflicted syntax-abusers all the benefits of using the different degrees of “on the way,” and how much pain and aguish can be avoided by simply being a bit more clear, then there will be a great deal less anxiety in planning for occasions. This has to be taken very seriously. If they start to laugh at you and tell you you’re crazy, just keep calm and tell them “no, but I’m certainly on my way…”

    ---
    Thank you for giving me the opportunity to get this off my chest and 'out there.' -tamworth

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  3. #2
    Distinguished Member Array C9H13NO3's Avatar
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    Ha. This reminds me of people coming in to work late back in the States. We'd give late person a call, and almost always, the response was "I'm walking through the turnstile right now!"

    This meant they were (from most rare to least rare) at the turnstile, walking to it, getting out of their car, parking, finding a space, or driving to the parking lot.

    Further abusing the progress report, the other response would be "I just got on base", which usually meant they just got on base, are waiting in line to get their id checked, are waiting at the stoplight just off base, or just got off the highway and are on the road to the base gate.
    -Ryan

    All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

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    Ex Member Array JOHNSMITH's Avatar
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    One of my pet peeves - people who, regardless of where they are or where they are going, are "10 minutes out." I have several family members who do this.

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