Life, in some respects, is a series of dittos. You see a great look in an advertisement, be it clothes, hair style, furnishings and you want that same look. Well, that is a ditto. A, “me too” sentiment. Most likely you are more accustomed to saying ditto in asking for the same thing someone else at your table has asked for. “I’ll have the double sized chocolate sundae with all the trimmings,” says your tablemate to your gum snapping waitress as she scratches at her scalp with her pencil under her lacquered hair, “Ditto,” is your addition to the conversation. The next thing you know you both have ice cream brain freeze! Major ditto error. Better you just get one sundae and two spoons. Moving on…
There are times that ditto should not be used. One came up recently and I was called on the carpet about it. Here’s the story. One of my favorite meals that I make is SOS. (I’m pretty plain Jane when it comes to fancy food.) For lack of better language SOS stands for ‘something on a shingle.’ The shingle is usually a slice of toast and the ‘something’ in my house is a concoction of a hamburger/gravy mixture that is spooned on the shingle and maybe topped with shredded cheese or hardboiled egg. Real comfort food, something you might find on the menu at a Cracker Barrel restaurant, a homey comfort food restaurant. However, in the army, where SOS was a mainstay, the shingle was the somewhat the same but the concoction was a canned chipped beef gravy mix which is really, really salty and to my palate kind of icky. Actually real icky, but I am taking the wrong fork here…. Get it, eating SOS, fork? Self-explanatory.
So, we sat down to dinner and in case I didn’t mention it, I like my SOS, a lot. So much so that as my other half said grace over the meal the devil took hold of my hand and made me take a quick bite of my dinner. And I got caught at the end of grace with gravy on my lips. So I looked up towards Heaven pointed my fork upwards and reverently said “Ditto.” Ditto can sometimes cover transgressions but be sure to use it with feeling.
Ditto, I think, is not used enough. It could be like turning the other cheek. Someone thinks you have stepped upon their toes about something and let’s go a slur of words attacking you? They get all read in the face and look like they will explode into a zillion tiny human fragments? Just stand there and say, “Ditto.” Like saying I am rubber you are glue, everything you say bounces off me and sticks to you! That will stop them in their tracks. It is a powerful word, ditto is.
Getting right down to it, maybe ditto could solve a whole slew of things that seem to be putting the world as we know it into a tail spin. One world leader slams his shoe on the table wanting his own way and all the other world leaders in unison just say, “Ditto.” We all want things to go our way. Of course we all know that getting even two world leaders to agree on something, then sticking to that agreement is futile. Agree? Did I just hear you say, “Ditto?”
Oh here is another use for ditto. I have covered using it with food, Heaven, anger and politics but what of love? Put a spin on your comeback to those three little words that you seem to have been waiting for all your life, “I love you,” with a quick witted, “Ditto!” See how that works for you.
Just imagine how much easier it would be to read, say Shakespeare if he would have waxed philosophical by saying ditto instead of going on and on about love, commitment and feelings of the heart in many of his writings. Sure would have made high school English much more enjoyable to me. But of course then I would not have been able to know what is meant by saying, “Nevermore,” when I see a raven perched above a door! If you don’t, I’m sorry to say you need to read Shakespeare—if not again then for the first time.
Shakespeare’s Hamlet in the angst of his life tried to decide if it was better, “To be or not to be…” I enjoy life so much that I know it is better “to be.” Ditto from you? I hope so.
Trina Machacek lives in Eureka. Her book ITY BITS can be found on Kindle. Share your thoughts and opinions with her at firstname.lastname@example.org.