Overheard, whether I wanted to or not

There’s a popular website I visit every now and then called “Overheard in New York.” It takes the snippets of conversation heard from passing strangers throughout the city and publishes them, completely out of context. Some are intentional witticisms, though most are based on the speaker’s cluelessness, lack of common sense or downright stupidity.

I’ve collected some similar fragments from my daily interactions and am posting them here today. Some are from my office while others may have come from the gym, the coffee shop or the grocery store. Virtually all will make you fear for the future of any democracy that’s intended to survive on the basis of the intelligence of its citizenry.

“I’m going to be late today. I have to put the bunny back in the box.” – Phone call from tardy employee.

“Did you hear that Harry Potter died?” – Actually, it was a minor actor from the movie.

“Anybody order Chinese food?” – Announcement made when Asian repairman from Xerox buzzes for entrance.

“He’s really sick. I think he has bronco-itis.” – Someone confusing my recent illness with an inflammation of the horse.

“I hate that we’re having six more weeks of winter.” – Said on Groundhog’s Day by someone who believed annual appearance of the groundling was a scientifically proven indicator of when cold weather would be ending each year.

“’House’ was in that movie.” – An endorsement of a new animated film featuring the voice of actor Hugh Laurie, who also stars in TV’s “House.”

“My new puppy is so cute. He’s a Staffordshire Bull Terrier.” – Said by someone who didn’t realize they’d accidentally adopted a pit bull.

“I saw that Apple guy on ‘Dancing with the Stars.’ Bill Gates?” – No, it was Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak.

“I heard about how vaccines can cause artistic children.” – No again. First of all, it’s “autistic” children, and second of all, it’s proven to be untrue.

“And John’s name is Jim, right?” – Confusion over proper names versus nicknames on company’s internal messaging system.

“They got $180 billion in bailout money and gave out $165 billion of it in bonuses.” – Oral report on AIG scandal, reflecting confusion between “million” and “billion.”

“She’s all baby.” – Said about a coworker’s daughter-in-law who hadn’t gained much weight so far in her pregnancy.

“Did you see that thing about what happens when you put Mentos in Coke?” – A discussion of the YouTube video quoted about a year after everyone else was talking about it.

“I’m going to be late today. It’s cold.” – A mid-winter tardiness excuse.

“That one I got when I fell off a ladder. It was only a bad sprain; the doctor said I was too tough to break a bone. And that one’s from when I stepped on a leech.” – From discussion in YMCA locker room about the source of all the scars on an old guy’s legs.

“Just give me a call if there’s anything I can do to help you.” Then, five minutes later: “Yeah, I just finished talking with Sue. She’s looking for a job. She will NEVER get hired with that background.” – Sympathetic but eventually mean man in business suit after meeting a former coworker in the coffee shop.

“I wonder if Rick could Photoshop Jessica’s head onto Gabriella’s body.” – Doting mom making plans for her “High School Musical”-crazed daughter’s birthday.

“I like the shower curtain where you can see through part of it … I like that. I want one of those.” – From a spirited discussion of bathroom accessories.

“Yesterday on Oprah they were talking about children who had been neglected. One little girl lived in a dollhouse. Poor thing.” – From a wrap-up of the previous day’s talk show highlights.

“You have to apply for a copyright. There’s a special agency in the U.S. government where you have to apply for a copyright.” – Discussion of business law.

“I’m going potty.” – Giving a reason why a particular project will have its start time slightly delayed.

“I bought a double towel thing … it’s silver … I got it on clearance a long time ago … it’s still in the box … I love it.” – But apparently not enough to actually install and use it.

“I do declare. I might could fix you right up, sugar.” – Improbably proud Southerner laying it on thick to New Yorker on the phone.

“We went to Sam’s and Juliette loved those things. I got me a banana, I got me a English muffin.” – Report on a recent mother-daughter shopping trip.

“I have decided I want a magical eight ball for my living room.” – Announcement of the latest interior decoration decision.

“I did buy a huge thing of detergent and it had this pour spout. I hadn’t got stocked up on canned goods or anything like that. Tom likes to buy a big piece of meat, and then he’ll cut it up. I do buy the big things of Folgers because that’s cheaper. I really don’t have much that’s close to me where I’m at, except Food Lion. I buy frozen chicken breasts and I just pull them out and thaw them … I love that.” – Wide-ranging discussion of another shopping trip and its various outcomes.

“Look at the postcards! Look at the postcards! Aren’t they just the most darling?” – No, they’re not. They’re trite and stupid and cheap-looking. Please don’t talk about them anymore because we’re tired of hearing about them.



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5 Responses to “Overheard, whether I wanted to or not”

  1. planetross Says:

    I don`t get to hear all that good chatter where I am. (sad face) … not too many English people kicking around. (happy face)

  2. trishatruly Says:

    If only people could hear themselves yacking away such nonsense! I used to listen to my employees chatter and think they sounded like little hens going “cluck cluck cluck”. They made about as much sense as chickens with their incessant talking!!

  3. alantru Says:

    Those are great. The funniest stories and lines in line are always true stories and things people actually say. I once pitched a Tv show and the broadcaster told me, “This woman is too out there. There aren’t actually people like this.” The character was based entirely on my neighbour and the lines I gave her were, for the most part, her own actual quotes!!

  4. InActionMan IAM Says:

    How many of us are innocent?
    Wouldn’t it be fun to install some kind of stupidity censor chip in our brain and have it root through everything we’ve ever said looking for the crassest most cringworthy comments we’ve ever made?
    No, I suppose it wouldn’t be fun at all. Thankfully our memories are set up in such a way as to delete or distort all our own flaws and embelish all our victories.

  5. bearmancartoons Says:

    “Anybody order Chinese food?” – Announcement made when Asian repairman from Xerox buzzes for entrance.”

    I was going to blast you for this one as untrue thinking I had just read it on another blog this week. Sure enough it was posted on the Sick Days blog as a comment…by who?? You of course..hilarious.

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