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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


After resisting it for a long time, tonight I finally got around to looking up the official meaning of the often-used word or term or whatever it is that is spelled "meh" and that you regularly see on the Internet.   I saw looking it up as being an onerous task, even if it only involved typing a few words on Google and clicking twice.   It was onerous because I had thought I should've long since  been able to figure out that meaning merely by noting  the context in which "meh" is used.    After all, that's how I learned the meanings of all but a very tiny percentage of all the words that I know.   And after close to 75 years of the uninterrupted reading of each and every thing with letters that happened to catch my eye, by now the number of those words must amount to many, many  thousands, even though, due to advanced age, so many are now leaking back out of my cranium, slowly but still considerably faster than I can pick up new ones.

But the trouble with "meh" was that I saw it used in so many different contexts that it was impossible to find it used in enough of the same ways to give it not merely one consistent meaning but also any meaning at all.   And that had started leading me to thinking that all these Internet types who are plainly so much more hip and informed on presentday things than I am, actually don't know what "meh" really means anymore than I do, and that instead they just throw it in for effect, knowing that they won't be called out on it because everybody else is just as much in the dark as they are, and that it's really only the appearance of things that matters anyway, as they long ago learned from having mastered the art of snowing their college professors on essay exams.

Google's first offering, a site called "Internet Slang,"  which, due to reluctance to spend my time searching for anything better, I am taking to be an authority on such matters, gives the  official meaning of "meh" as "indifference, equivalent to a shoulder shrug."

So there you have it, as Mark Twain would've said.   --Or do you?

That definition didn't leave me a bit more satisfied than before, mainly because I couldn't and still can't relate it to anything.   You know, something tangible, like a good ol' abbreviation.   By contrast, one need not feel uncomfortable when faced with seeing "imho," because at least that's susceptible to the easily remembered expression, "in my humble opinion."  "Meh" doesn't succumb to any abbreviation relating to a shrug or anything else, as far as I am still able to perceive.

That leads to the addtional problem of shrugs themselves.   I have never been into them.    After heavy reflection on  the matter, I'm certain that I don't even know how to shrug, with my shoulders or any other part of me -- that is, unless you want to include slightly holding out both my palms, with my arms slightly akimbo.   But now that I think about it, I suspect that I've imagined doing that much more than I've actually done it, which could be never.   When faced with situations that call for shrugging, my reaction, at best, is always only a blank stare accompanied by a grin, as I wait for that moment of nonsense to wend its way on into the oblivion where it belongs.

However, I have said, once or twice, "Lots of luck!"   Maybe that's as good a real life physical equivalent of including "meh" in one's Internet text as any.


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