Two of my favorite expressions came from people who didn’t have a grasp on the English language. Once, when asking a friend’s young son about something, he replied “I can’t know.” He meant “I don’t know,” but “I can’t know” is so much better. There are so many things I can’t know. I mean, my husband works on computers and I honestly can’t know what he does. My brain doesn’t work that way. I can’t know how cars are fixed and I certainly can’t know quantum physics.
My other favorite expression is “pick up your everything.” This started in my kids’ Tae Kwon Do studio. Each time that they were promoted to a new rank, there was a ceremony and all the kids who were promoted were given a new belt and a new folder containing a certificate of achievement. After a group of them had received their new materials and it was time for them to be dismissed, the Masters would say “pick up your everything and go back to your spot.” The vagueness of it is brilliant.
When my kids (or my husband) leave school work, receipts, keys, or extra clothes on the kitchen counter – or scattered around the house – I say “pick up your everything.” It’s an inside family joke and it makes them smile.
I constantly ask my family members to pick up their everything. So why is my house still messy? I can’t know.