Thursday, April 12, 2012

M is for Maybe

There aren’t many more useful words in the English language than maybe. It means “perhaps, possibly,” but it implies so much more.

A child asks, “Can we go to the zoo?” and the parent answers, “Maybe.” In some families that may mean “possibly,” but in mine, and countless others it meant, if not “no”, then, “almost certainly no”. As I grew up, I noticed people answering something I’d said in debate with “maybe…” when what they probably meant was “that’s the dumbest thing I ever heard.” Or, maybe I was just imagining that part.

The word’s etymology is surprisingly prosaic, apparently deriving from a late Middle English phrase, it may be (that). Disappointing, that, and maybe too obvious.

Still, the point is, few other words give us as much wiggle room as the humble word, maybe. When we want to be non-committal or if we’re unsure, a maybe will help keep us from over-committing ourselves, rhetorically at least.

Now at this point, you’re wondering, maybe, why I didn’t choose any of the many other words starting with M that would be consistent with my many ordinary blog topics, maybe even a controversial one. The truth is, I simply don’t have the time to do the sort of in-depth letter exploration that I would like to do. Maybe it’ll be better next week, maybe it won’t.

In the meantime, maybe it’s best to stop with saying that the video above is the song “Maybe” by New Zealand band Opshop. It was apparently the most played song on New Zealand Radio in 2007, and won the “Highest Radio Play” in the New Zealand Music Awards in 2008, It also reached #1 in New Zealand iTunes 2008, the year after I bought the single through iTunes. The song, written by lead singer Jason Kerrison, peaked at #3 on the New Zealand chart, and went gold. It was from the triple platinum album, Second Hand Planet. In 2011, Kerrison was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to music, on the Queen's Birthday Honours list that year.

I missed last week because I was simply too busy to do a post. Maybe that’s for the best.

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1 comment:

Roger Owen Green said...

maybe my blog post this week was a substitute for the original content. maybe it was because I was on vacation. maybe I'll remember that you blokes use the term 'holiday'. maybe I won't.

ROG, ABC Wednesday team