I’m Just Sayin’

I think I’ve discovered the perfect way to say anything without consequences. All I have to do is say whatever I think and then immediately follow it up with a simple phrase: I’m just sayin’.

I’m just sayin’ is a magical phrase. It automatically, and immediately, lessens the impact of what comes with it. It’s as if they made airplanes out of the same material as Nerf footballs. Instead of my words crashing down, wreaking havoc and destruction, they fall with a gentle thump. No matter what comes before this perfect phrase, it’s accepted as a personal truth and usually taken without anger. Add I’m just sayin’ to the beginning or end of any otherwise potentially damaging statement, and you come out a winner.

For example, if my wife tries out a new recipe on me and it’s less than stellar, I can tell her something like, “This tastes like compost. I’m just sayin’,” and she receives my criticism lovingly. But if I were just to compare the dinner to other inedible morsels without invoking the I’m just sayin’ clause, I probably would be wearing the last dinner I’d see in a while.

I even am able to declare things like “Somebody spilled a whole lot of ugly on that guy, I’m just sayin’,” and I am instantly forgiven. I can tell my co-worker that his kid is a quack short of a duck and yet, it’s okay.

The use of the magic phrase is a beautiful thing. I get my point across quickly and effectively without fear of serious repercussions — like being stapled to my bed as I sleep or finding sea monkeys in my iced tea.

Linguistic research provides clues as to where these simple little words get their magic. The beginning — the “I’m just” — functions like a giant cushion, softening the blow. The “I’m” indicates that it is just a personal feeling, and personal feelings can’t really be wrong. “Just” further reduces the negativity. “Just” means only, as in, “I’m only saying”—not condemning, not picking on, not trying to start a fight. And finally, sayin’, unlike its more formal, astute and hoity-toity cousin “saying,” lends a simple, rustic flavor to the phrase. It’s more casual and therefore, more acceptable.

The beauty of I’m just sayin’ is that even though what you’re saying may be totally offensive, totally off-base and totally stupid, you get by saying it. It’s similar to the insanity defense. Sort of like the weird uncle that you just love and accept regardless of the fact that he smells like road kill and insists on giving you noogies even though you’re now 38 years old. You just put up with Uncle Paul, well, because he is Uncle Paul.

While I have yet to test my I’m just sayin’ theory against the trickiest question in the world – “Does this dress make me look fat?” – I, like any overly-educated scientist, have complete confidence in my theory.  I think. (By the way, I am looking for volunteers to use the I’m just sayin’ tag following an honest answer to this question. I’ll be eagerly awaiting your results as I personally try to avoid the question.)

In the time being, I will hold to my belief that I’m just sayin’ is magical. Kind of like duct tape and WD-40. It’s the “Get Out of Jail Free” card for anything that needs to be said.

Just imagine if politicians would employ this strategy. Maybe then we’d get some honest answers and things would finally get accomplished in Washington. I’m just sayin’.

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  1. Cynthia Carman Rich
    June 27, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    Both my husband and I were entertained by “justsayin” in the Register Mail. Then I was interested to see that it was written by you, whom I believe I knew as a student at Churchill Junior High School. I will look forward to seeing more of your columns.

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