While I recently was sitting in the booth at lunch at one of our more frequented restaurants, the waiter handed us our menus and I absently said, "Thank you." The waiter quickly answered, "No problem."
I had to laugh. I just read in Real Simple magazine that "No problem" is one of those phrases they feel should be banned from the English language, along with "Don't take this personally" and "It is what it is." According to Real Simple writers, answering with "No problem" implies that handing the menu actually is a problem, but the wait person is deciding to do it anyway. Therefore, the term no problem is a negative response.
A child of the '60s, I don't have a problem with "No problem." I put it in the category of "peace" or "chill" or "cool" as a statement of being all right. I would, however, like to ban the often used, offhanded remark "I'm OK" when it is used as the response to a question.
Let me explain. That same lunch the waitress asked my granddaughter if she would like an iced tea, and my offspring answered, "I'm OK." The conscientious waiter paused and waited, so I acted in response, "Of course you're OK. You're my wonderful, intelligent, 20-year-old granddaughter. Yes, we all know you are OK, but do you want an iced tea or would you like something else?" Silence.
I'm OK. What kind of an answer is "I'm OK?" Does it mean, "I'm OK with that idea; I would like some iced tea," or does it mean, "I'm okay without the tea; I don't want anything?" Finally, with a sugary smile to the waiter and with "a look" to Grandma, my progeny answered, "I'm OK for now, thank you. I'm OK with just drinking water." Well, OK, now we know.
It's hard to be a wait person and it's hard to get the order right when the customer is clear about what they want. I'm OK? Whatever happened to, "Yes, thank you," or, "No, thank you," or just a simple yes or no?
The rest of the table was ready to order. My grandson likes to place his order into the menu. He thinks there is a little speaker there that is sending his wishes to the kitchen. He mumbled to the crease while still appearing to be looking over his selections. Remarkably, the order got transferred to our very patient waiter. Prompted by Grandma: "I thought you wanted a salad?" My relation's response: "I'm OK."
My younger granddaughter always places her order with me. "Tell the waiter, hon," I encouraged her. She looked quickly at the waiter and declared her choice, seeking Grandma's approval. Her request is always a question: "I'll have a grilled cheese?" she asked, looking at Grandma. "Would you like fries?" the waiter asked. "I'm OK," she responded.
I'm beginning to get it. "I'm OK" is, "I'm fine just as I am." "I'm OK" is, "I don't need anything else." "I'm OK" is, "No, thank you." So why not just say that?
I looked at the waiter and ordered the blue cheese hamburger. He asked if I wanted soup. I answered, "No, I'm OK too." There were several rolled eyes.
That night, I treated my grandchildren with a special cake: "I'm OK" Chocolate Cake - The answer to everything. It's easy, lactose-free, vegan, low fat and very delicious.
1 and 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup cold water or soy milk
1/2 cup of orange juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons vinegar
1/2 cup of mixed, chopped nuts (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease and flour an 8-inch or 9-inch round pan.
2. Sift dry ingredients into a bowl.
3. Stir the liquids (except vinegar) together and mix into the dry ingredients by hand. Add nuts if desired.
4. When the batter is smooth, add vinegar and stir quickly, until it is evenly distributed.
5. Pour into the pan and bake immediately for 25 to 30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clear.
6. Cool on a rack and enjoy.
Comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.