Never Mind !
Saturday Night Live produced a number of iconic characters that resonated with the American Psyche. John Belushi, Dan Akroyd, Chevy Chase, Gilda Radner and others rang bells which many of us heard and understood.
One of the characters I much enjoyed was Gilda Radner’s “Roseanne Rosannadonna.” Tongue in cheek, the character would hear or read something, not really understanding the topic. She would then launch i8nto an impassioned and highly opinionated reply that had absolutely nothing to do with the subject or question involved. When finished with her rant and advised of the actual subject or question, she would simply smile and say “Never mind!”
It became an iconic phrase for many of us when we did the same thing. Elementary teachers always told us to “read the question three times before answering.” Few of us ever do and thus often times we have to grin sheepishly and say “never mind.” Those hearing this phrase shake their heads ruefully in understanding. They know we hurried through the reading of something and gave an answer ill considered and irrelevant to the topic at hand.
Newspaper editors are even clearer. “Make sure you get all of the facts first, before you start writing your story.” Some reporters don’t and the paper later has to issue a shuffling “Never mind,” a practice all editors detest.
Detective Joe Friday, of Dragnet fame, is quoted with the most terse request for information, though script writers insist he never uttered the phrase, “Just the facts, Ma’am.” If only interpretation were so simple.