Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Here’s the thing. The thing is this is that…

A woman – or so she seemed in 1977, when I was in my late teens and she was in her mid-twenties – named Pam managed the movie theater where I worked. Pam talked funny. If someone was late for work, she’d say “Here’s the thing. The thing is this is that you have to get here on time.” If she needed us to take an extra shift, she’d say “Here’s the thing. The thing is this is that I need you to work the matinee on Sunday.” Everything with Pam was a thing.

I haven’t thought about her in a very long time, but lately I’ve noticed something and I wonder when it became a thing. I’m sure I’ve heard it on TV more than three times and that’s enough for it to be a thing. Notice how carefully I’m avoiding the word “meme?” The word meme is the thing of the decade and now that I’ve said it I can’t unsay it, so let’s move on.
Here the thing: The set-up is two characters on a sitcom. One of them asks “What are you doing tomorrow?” and the other answers “I’m getting my elbows bronzed,” to which the first character says, “that’s not a thing.” Variations on it include the skeptical: “Is that even a thing?” and the defensive: “Yeah, that’s a thing.”
Now, because I'm highly distractable and don't have a real point to make about any of the above ramblings, I'll bring this to an abrupt and sad close. Here's the thing and this is a real thing: As I began to write this I remembered Pam's last name and did a quick search for her. This is what turned up:
From a local newspaper on the eastern seaboard

Pamela S______ C_______


[NAME OF PLACE] — Pamela S______ C_______, [her age], wife of D____ C_______, died [date omitted] Her obituary follows.


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