I know I’ve blogged about this before, but I’m feeling the flow. When people say “Our thoughts and prayers are with …” whoever, what does that mean?
Do people genuinely believe that positive thoughts and prayers will travel from, say, San Diego to Orlando and help cure a cancer-stricken patient? Is the fact that you’re praying for someone supposed to make that person feel better? Like, man, I’m pretty upset about this heart attack, but now that Joe’s thoughts and prayers are with me I’m all pepped up?
I’m being serious. If one Googles the phrase “Our thoughts and prayers are with …” he gets, literally, 12,100,000 hits. Our thoughts and prayers are with the McDonnell Family. Our thoughts and prayers are with the F-22 pilot. Our thoughts and prayers are with the senator and his family. So many thoughts and prayers, so many outcomes that don’t reward those thoughts and prayers. You think, you pray—dude dies. Happens all the time.
I don’t mean this to sound quite as cynical as it probably does. I mean it mostly in a literal sense. When politicians say “Our thoughts and prayers are with …” I’m pretty certain that, oh, 90 percent of the time their thoughts and prayers are not with; that the speech writer getting paid $26,000 threw that in there as a nice little touch. And even if the politician does mean it, can he truly speak for all of us? How does Barack Obama know “our” thoughts and prayers are with so-and-so? I don’t mean to be a dickus, but if, say, Dick Cheney is hit by a bus, my thoughts and prayers almost certainly won’t be with him. That doesn’t mean I want him to die—I certainly don’t. But will I send my valuable thoughts and prayers his way? No way. Not when I want the new XBox.
I just think we, as humans, accept lazy linguistic uses because it’s easier than being original. Instead of sending my thoughts and prayers to a suffering pilot, why can’t I send caramels (to steal from Good Will Hunting) and merry tidings? Instead of wishing thoughts and prayers upon the Mahopac High School Class of 2011, I wish strong travels and few farts.
Now I must get back to my book. It’s due in a month.
Please think and pray for me …