I’ve developed a verbal tick.
It started when, speaking with a client of a client the week before last, I needed to find a response that would convey the same general sentiment of “no problem,” only more formal, and without even a hint of my not already being on whatever it was I wanted to seem to be handling, or without even the slightest suggestion of going out of my way to do any favours for said person. (I can’t even remember who it was… sigh.)
So in answer to whatever it was, I grappled quickly and silently with my vocabulary and came out with “certainly.” And then felt quite satisfied with myself because it seemed to do the trick.
The next day, recalling my first success with the word, I used it to escape a completely different phone call and then basked in my reminisence of how good it had felt the first time.
A few days after that it came out in a meeting and I experienced a vague sensation of not sounding quite like myself.
And then it happened again and I hated it.
It was thus that I realized immediate action must be taken, or I would soon find myself winding back down the same path I did with “dude,” in the winter of 1998, following the first ever television coverage of Olympic snowboarding. Only I like “dude.” “Certainly,” I’m quite certain, I don’t.