Date: Sun, 27 Oct 1996 13:32:38 -0500
From: "Barry A. Popik" Bapopik[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]AOL.COM
Subject: "Nothing special"
Dana Carvey hosted Saturday Night Live last night. Isn't that special?
This is from the New-York Mirror and Ladies' Literary Gazette, 23
September 1826, pg. 70, col. 1:
_"Nothing special"_--This is the most _fashionable_ expression in
town--Every _gentleman_ of _importance_ has it! If a person inquires "What
news this morning, sir?" "Nothing special" is the answer. If you are asked
"What the last arrivals bring?" (no matter whether you know any thing about
them or not) "nothing special" is all that you are required to utter to
satisfy the person who addresses you. Meeting a learned and celebrated
professor of medicine in the street the other day, (who, by-the-bye, has
contracted the practice of using this sentence on all occasions--can you take
a hint, doctor?) we asked him "If he had heard Signorina sing?"--but before
we had named the song to which we referred, he answered "nothing special!"
We asked another "what reason he had for for abusing Cooper's Damon?"
"Nothing special." Now the reader will perceive that these words are made
use of without any regard being paid to their meaning, which renders them, as
the Bob Logics have it, "_quite a bore_". We hear them so frequently, that
we are compelled to avoid asking an acquaintance the news, or where he
resides, for fear of "nothing special." The use of this expression has
become so annoying recently that we are induced thus publicly to notice it,
with the hope, we confess, of eradicating a custom which would "be more
honoured in the breach than the observance." We know of but one remedy for
this _disease_, (if we may be allowed the expression00and what expression is
not allowed in this enlightened age?) which we most _seriously_ recommend to
the public: In the first place, let _every_ person subscribe for the New-York
Mirror, (always _paying_ for it in advance, otherwise the _charm_ possibly
may fail,) and then in the second place, let it be read thoroughly every
week, and if it don't always furnish _"something special"_ to interest the
feelings and refine the taste, we will acknowledge that we know nothing about
the matter. Give our _prescription_ a year's trial, (it will cost less than
a bottle of many quack medicines,) and if the _patient_, whoever he be, is
not completely cured of --"nothing special," his case is hopeless.