The other day I was on a work call and somebody asked me if we should take a particular course of action. I said, “100%!” Then I stopped and thought, why the hell did I just say that? I don’t know if it’s just around here, or maybe all over Ontario, or maybe it’s country or continent-wide, but in the past six months or so people have replaced the words “Yes”, “For Sure”, “Absolutely” and “OK” with the term “100%”. And it’s always delivered with the utmost confidence, so that it actually means more than yes. It is an absolutely unwavering yes. It is like a blood pledge. If you say 100% then later it turns out to be wrong, I think it would really damage your reputation, whereas being wrong after a regular yes is no big Hollywood movie. I have yet to hear somebody to say 110%, but if they do then the profundity of that statement would be hard to comprehend.
Where on earth did this come from? And how has it leeched into our everyday speech without anybody noticing it? Are Americans saying it? How about the Aussies? I hope the Brits aren’t. I suppose it is the natural growth of the language, and the English language is known to be rather promiscuous, and not too concerned with the quality or sense of its evolution, unlike the French who police their language with assault rifles and tanks. I admit to being one of those people who gets a little picky about language. For example, earlier this year while visiting our friends down in Ellicottville, NY, Ana and I were browsing through the shops and I found what I believe to be the greatest shirt ever created. It was a white t-shirt with black letters on the front that said, “THERE. THEIR. THEY’RE.” I was ready to buy it until I realized it was nearly thirty bucks, which gets me almost exactly thirty t-shirts from Value Village so I sadly put it back on the rack. But I still dream about that inspiring product and hope they’re thinking of selling their shirts both there and here.
I suppose there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with saying 100% instead of yes, I would just like to know who thought it up and started spreading it around. Probably Kevin Bacon.
In other non-grammar related news, today Bella Blue departs for the first leg of her journey, with my brother Marty, my cousin-in-law Adam, and myself completing the crew. The weather in south-western Ontario has been hot and dry and beautiful for three weeks. The next four days (the expected duration of the sail from here to Sarnia) is expected to the thunderstormy, overcast, and wet. Then it goes back to sunny and hot. This is the story of sailing, and life really.
We’ve had our boat docked at our friends Tony and Angela’s cabin at Turkey Point for the past couple of weeks and have been busy with boat maintenance projects – fixing the wind instrument, tightening keel bolts, fixing leaks, changing hoses, replacing filters, refinishing wood, and so on. I had to climb up to the top of the mast twice – a terrifying job if there ever was one – but fortunately it stayed upright and I did not die. We installed a new spinnaker line which has opened up all sorts of possibilities for new fun and injuries on the boat. We tied an empty yellow Prestone antifreeze bottle to the end of it and used it as a fantastic rope swing. We used it to hoist the kids up in the boson’s chair while underway, allowing them to float around and get a lovely ride. In more practical terms, we’ll be able to use it to winch up our dingy onto the boat deck instead of how we used to do it, which usually resulted in crippling back spasms, scratches in the fiberglass, stretched life lines, and a lot of yelling and screaming.
So after all that work the Bella Blue is ready to sail. Marty has been with me on two previous boat moves and just last year Adam helped us sail her through the Welland Canal so I have no doubt this crew will take us through to our destination in fine form. We are looking at a few very long sailing days (traveling 450 kilometres over about 50 hours), but hopefully the winds are favourable, temperatures are good, boat performs well, beer stays cold, and we don’t get forked by lightning along the way.