adam j. sontag

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I liked school a bit yesterday

I liked school a bit yesterday.

I liked school a bit yesterday.

Today’s entry is easily my favorite thus far: I’ve never looked at it and not at least mildly chuckled. I doubt it would particularly jar anyone’s ear were they to hear a six-year-old say “a bit,” yet in writing, the simple phrase lends a delightful sense of pique. This was only the first time that an overheard colloquialism would creep onto the end of my pencil, and why not? Much as our formal schooling may imbue us with vocabulary and usage, it feels safe to assume we pick up our idiomatic expressions and general communication style from our parents. Don’t believe me? Check out these awesome comments that my mom has been leaving!

What could have been so banal about September 30th to incur such condescension? The accompanying diagram, in a manner unbecoming of diagrams, provides little illumination. What was good? What was bad? I eschewed these details not out of a deliberate intent to be vague, but rather because I was in the midst of discovering that ambivalence is a far more difficult concept to illustrate than animals talking about sports. Placing “good” and “bad” on opposing sides of a line was the best I could muster.

“A bit” is a turn of phrase that is neither complex nor unique, but it seems to convey a level of finesse in communication that we do not tend to confer to first graders. Is it because children don’t know how to be subtle, or because adults don’t remember what it’s like to be children?