2012-11-29 / Lifestyles

Answers to an annoying question

Lois A. Corcoran

Maybe the phrase bugs me because I only hear pompous people use it. They introduce themselves with, for example, “I’m Peter the Great,” then arch one eyebrow before asking, “and you are?”

I may be reading their expression wrong, but they don’t appear to give a flip what my name is. When I mentioned this pet peeve to my family, they dreamed up some novel answers to that haughty question.

And I’ll pull one out of my imaginary hat next time some gal states, “I’m so-and-so, Executive Secretary of such-and-such.” After she scans me for flaws and says, “and you are?,” I may reply with, “unimpressed.”

Or I could take the medical route and say something like, “a bit constipated. Thanks for asking.”

Or possibly “late for the door.”

To be honest, the question is less annoying than the arrogant folks who voice it. I suppose I should cut them some slack. They could, after all, not bother to ask. But then they’d miss out on a golden opportunity to appear superior.

You find these people in every profession, of course, but plenty of nine-to-fivers suffer from an inflated sense of self worth, too. I’d wager that even a few bag ladies try to one-up each other.

You know the type. Their noses are so high in the air, they climb scaffolding to blow them.

My first encounter with this was in a restaurant. While waiting for our meal, my family and I overheard a young man putting on the dog at a table nearby. “You simply must see the Mormon Tabernacle Choir,” he told his companion. “It’s EXquisite.”

Though Funk & Wagnals includes that pronunciation, I’d never heard the word emphasized quite that way, nor have I since.

There is, however, a tendency among snobby people to toss foreign phrases into their conversations. I keep a translation dictionary handy for just such occasions.

People like that used to impress me. My young, naive self somehow got caught up in their lofty opinions of themselves. Wow, can I be you?, I thought.

It didn’t take long for the feeling to wear off and eventually I saw them for what they were. And now when I meet them, I make a beeline for the door.

So next time one of them asks, “and you are?” I’ll say, “outtahere.”

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