Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Last Time I Checked

The phrase "The Last Time I Checked" is one I don't like. It's like George W. Bush, completely disgusting to me. Or dog waste or freezer burnt meat or outdated milk. All four of which, the last time I checked, were things I didn't like. And should I check again, as I've had to recently in the case of Bush, I'm sure my opinion wouldn't have changed since the last time I checked.

I just checked my archives and it looks like I've never used the phrase before today. The last time I checked was just a few minutes ago. I may have used it in conversation -- like in some moment of contention and tiredness, but I don't remember it. Actually, the last time I checked, I'm usually wide awake if any contention happens, out of an instinctual desire for survival.

We all want to keep tabs on things. And with all the "last time I checked" talk I hear on the internet, we're keeping things checked out pretty well. To be constantly checking things means constant vigilance. It's probably Wikipedia's fault. I know every time someone dies, I immediately go to Wiki to see if someone's put in their death date yet, and someone always has. We can't wait 10 years for the encyclopedia to get updated, like we used to. You can go to Goodwill and get one of our old encyclopedias where JFK is still president. And the last time I checked Wiki, he's been dead for a number of years. So maybe that's why everyone's so mean today, too much checking; no one has time for anything else.

You have to be really vigilant to maintain such vigilance. We're checking once, then twice, then again. Like Santa Claus: "He's checking it once, checking it twice, going to find out who's naught and nice." And the last time he checked, I was nice.

I checked with a Google search on this phrase last night. It had 11,000,000 hits. I checked again this morning. It had 11,300,000 hits! So roughly another 300,000 people since last night did more checking and wrote about it on the internet. Imagine all the millions who checked things and didn't make it public. But 300,000? The last time I checked, 300,000 was a bunch! In one night!

Where did this phrase come from? I didn't hear it in the '50s, the '60s, the '70s, the '80s ... although, who knows, the last time I checked, I don't have a photographic memory. Plus, in the '50s I was a baby and a toddler and a bigger kid. I had other people doing my checking for me. In fact, they were checking me. "The last time I checked, he was dry."

A few weeks ago we had the "The Rent Is Too Damned High" party candidate for New York governor. And he kept saying that in the debate. Maybe next time I'll start the "The Last Time I Checked" party. That'd be a great catchphrase. I'm in the debate, and finally it comes around to me, and whatever the issue, I'm saying, "The last time I checked, taxes were too damned high" or too damned low, whichever they happen to be at the time.

Then if I get into a fight with one of the other candidates, of course I'll have a killer line. "The last time I checked, you were a bastard, and I see you haven't changed!"

And of course, if there's some issue about me getting equal time, I'll say, "The last time I checked, my opponent's time expired five minutes before he quit talking, which the last time I checked was a violation of the rules that we agreed on." Then I'll go on to make several points on other things I'd recently checked on.

Enough of this. The day's getting on. And the last time I checked, I've got a busy day today. Need to go.

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