There we were, in the middle of a meeting, discussing a controversial person. It’s the usual back and forth and talking over each other when I hear the words:
She’s dead to me.
Those words cut through the noise as my head turned toward the speaker. It wasn’t the outspoken person. Nor was it the angry person. It was the nicest person in the room who quietly said that. Honestly, if we voted on it she’d probably win the title of One most likely to be kind.
Yup. She was soft spoken, nice to everyone, and even tempered, yet she spoke with no irony. Funny thing is, I can’t remember who we were discussing or what we were talking about. I do remember inappropriately and hysterically laughing and it taking a good bit to settle myself. While the sentiment was certainly appropriate, the incongruence between the mild-mannered person and the harshness of her response threw me off. On top of that, this was the first time I had heard that saying in real life. I chuckled about it for days.
Okay, won’t lie–I still get a chuckle out of it. 😂
When I finally managed to stop laughing–we were in a meeting, for crying out loud–I told her I hadn’t heard that before. She didn’t seem to think twice about the phrase itself. She nonchalantly explained that her mother said it when she was seriously “done” with someone.
Me: Is this a regional thing? Where is your mother from? (asked in one breath, clearly in full-on Alice mode)
Her: I don’t know, I’ve heard it before (She shrugged. Side bar: she went to school in New York).
Me: That sounds so mafioso. (That garnered a laugh, but New York is not where she heard it first.)
Her: My mom’s a proper southern lady from Georgia.
It was then her turn to be surprised (perhaps a little skeptical, as well) that this was my first time hearing this. You’ve heard me say this before, but I felt like I’d fallen off the turnip truck–and that’s not even a thing where I grew up. I had several people tell me later that it’s a “southern thing.” 🤷🏻♀️ I’m neither here nor there with that. I want more “evidence” and stories. I want all the stores. I grew up in the PNW and managed to not hear it and I currently live in the SW and that was the first time I’d heard it (at least phrased in that way). So (naturally), I have questions:
Who else in the country uses this phrase and where do you live?
In what ways do you use it? Are you cutting someone out of your life for real or are you just annoyed? Are you saying it jokingly?
I’m honestly curious, so please let me know in the comments. I’ve had many a discussion about the phrase, “Well, bless your heart.” This is a discussion for another time, but I will say it has included varying responses as to how “bless-y” that saying really is. That conversation started years ago with a friend who moved to the midwest and her understanding that the phrase may not mean what she thought it meant…
It’s funny how much I think about this phrase that I heard way back when the kids were little, or when it pops up for me, but it’s one of those things that to this day makes me chuckle with a dash of internal head shaking. Even Chief described her as one of the nicest and most soft-spoken people, and he’s not much of a “noticer.” His reaction is telling–She’s such a nice person! You wouldn’t expect anything like that to come out of her mouth, joking or not.
Thing is, I don’t think she was joking, and I love her all the more for it even as I clutch my pearls.