BY LYLE HENRETTY
Less Than Zero
Published November 15, 2001
You know what I"m saying? Of course you don"t I haven"t said anything yet, but had I actually typed words, in English, in some discernable order, I"m sure you would have found absolutely no problem knowing exactly what message I was trying to get across to you. This being the case, why do so many guys our age feel the need to add this to every damn thing they say? I can understand its use when someone doesn"t speak English very well, or has a heavy accent or no tongue (basically any specific reason when the discerning listener may not have the slightest clue as to what the person is actually saying).
This is especially disheartening when there is no euphemism or hidden meaning to what your Joe Jackass is saying. Example: "I"m gonna go eat me a big-ass burger, you know what I"m saying?" What??!! You"re saying that you are going to go and eat a big-ass burger, no? Where were you afraid communication had broken down? Which part of the sentence were you afraid was going to go over my head?
Do you know who I blame? I blame the movies that we grew up on. Everybody in the theater laughed when Arnold or Jean-Claude busted a funny before offing bad guys/Russia/Martians single-handedly. Batman (Michael Keaton, fer godsake!) could say something cool and cryptic and disappear in a flash. For those of us raised with television as an impromptu nanny/best-friend combination, we believed that we were just that damn good.
But when no one reacted to their impressive karate kicks or nifty R-rated joke that even they didn"t really get, they had to add that evil, mind-numbing phrase, just to make sure everyone really did know what they were saying.
When those kids grew up and lost that last trace of self-respect, they became the "You Know What I"m Saying" Guy, the guy that feels that, if you just got what he meant, you"d either be laughing your ass off, slapping him on the back or dropping to your knees to worship at his feet (or "The Alter of Cool"). These words are like a foul belch, and the YKWIS Guy eats salmon and feces sandwiches all too often.
The worst, the epitome of the pits, is when this fool subtly tells his buddies that he"s going to attempt intercourse with a female. "Yeah, so, uh, Gertrude and I are gonna go back to her place, IF you know what I"m saying." Are you possibly suggesting that you"re going to attempt to have sex with this girl? First of all, Joe Jackass, she probably will not have sex with you, as she has self-esteem and your dope frat-boy slash Easy-E combo approach to gaining fellatio had a negative correlation with women"s suffrage. You score about as much as the Detroit Lions, if you know what I"m saying.
I think YKWIS Guy is usually flat-out lying, trying to make his life seem more interesting, adding an air of mystery to the proceedings. (Authors note: "The proceedings" are simply YKWIS Guy driving the girl home, trying to invite himself in and being told that Gertrude is tired/busy/a lesbian, and YKWIS Guy asking if he can at least come in to use the bathroom. Once inside, YKWIS Guy tries to cop a feel, and then goes home to nurse the foot mark on his crotch.) These types of the YKWIS Guy are pathetic but somewhat pitiable. They are almost bearable, unlike their brethren the lowest of the low the kind of guy that a steaming pile macaroni-and-cheese vomit sees and goes "ugh, that"s unnecessary." Yes, I"m speaking of "Super You Know What I"m Saying" Guy.
SYKWIS Guy adds the horrific pseudo-suffix to make things sexual that aren"t. Picture it, you"re sitting in your cognitive psychology class, wondering why all psych classes meet at eight in the morning, when the pert GSI helpfully informs you that Pavlov was a drooling moron. The guy next to you pokes you repeatedly with his elbow in rapid succession, cocks his eyebrow and announces that he "would Pavlov her, you know what I"m saying?" Then, if you"re lucky, he"ll raise both of his eyebrows in unison, looking for confirmation that you do, in fact oh, you get the idea.
Well, I"ve again been moaning and offering little consolation to you, careful, valiant reader, about how to save yourself from YKWIS Guy"s onslaught of rhetoric, and it"s high time I did. Next time you"re hit with "I"ll clean her bathroom, you know what I"m saying?" reply that no, you have no idea. Please explain. Then, while he"s confused, stammering to find a less-clever euphemism, scream "YES, YOU MORON, I KNOW WHAT YOU"RE FUCKING SAYING! You want to have sexual intercourse with this girl. You could not be any clearer. I hate you and want you to die."
"Yeah," YKWIS will probably respond, "you get me."
Lyle Henretty can be reached at