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The infamous and ever-trusted "they"

Posted Wednesday, February 17, 2010, at 8:39 AM

Below is my column in this week's NSC, but I figured I would post it here, too! Take care!

Monday night was a little out of the ordinary for me, mainly because I was home. I typically work every Monday evening because there are numerous board meetings to cover. All on Mondays for whatever reason.

Last night we were sitting on the couch watching "The Singing Bee" when my soon-to-be stepson asked for some chocolate milk.

I got up and we went to the kitchen. When I pulled out Nestle Quik tub I noticed we were almost out and I made a comment I can't remember at the moment. He then came back and said, "Ya know, they say you should keep a lot of chocolate around just in case you need it."

I laughed because it was cute and then in an attempt to throw gasoline on the fire I asked him, "just who are 'they.'"

We joke back and forth like that a lot so I wasn't expecting an answer to the question but by golly he had one.

He said that "they" don't have real names, or at least we don't know them. He also said that they don't live inside the United States and we just use them when we need an answer and don't have one.

While I thought it was funny, at the same time I was impressed that I got an answer. We always use "them" as our main and most-trusted source of information, and no one seems to be able to put names or faces to the infamous "they."

Why is it that we are so instantly willing to accept what "they" say as the gospel but question the people we actually know and trust right here near us?

Over the years, "they" have been trusted with a number of important decisions in our lives. Here are a couple greatest hits:

* You know what they say, if you sit too close to the television you'll hurt your eyes. (Did it all through my childhood and I can see to write this. Without glasses even!)

* You know what they say, two heads are better than one! (This one would definitely depend on whose "heads" we are talking about. It's very possible that in some cases one head could be much better. Did you ever have a partner in school that you wished would just stay home?)

People, including myself, are even well-known for invoking "them" following an interesting news story to make us seem like more of an expert than we really are.

For instance, "you know, they say now that if we tuck our heads between our knees and whistle Dixie for three minutes we can boost our IQ by 32 points."

Well, not exactly. That leads me to my next point. "What they say NOW."

This mysterious genius we all know and trust occasionally likes to stir things up by changing his information to make it seem more timely, hence the "now."

Somehow, thinking that information is modern and up-to-the minute gives even more credence to this amazing source no one can name.

In the newspaper business, trust and reputable sources are a must. Journalists worldwide spend uncountable hours each year trying to do nothing more than verify reasonable facts.

The funny thing is that while I joke and poke fun, tonight I will go home to my families and friends and trust "they" just as much as everyone else.

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Mothers depend on "they" just as much, if not more-so, than reporters do! :-)

-- Posted by mrsdolphin on Thu, Mar 18, 2010, at 12:08 AM

"They" speak frequently when referring to historical matters as well.

-- Posted by mobrigade on Wed, Mar 3, 2010, at 11:58 AM

This is so true! What a bright soon-to-be step son you have! That's a great explanation he gave! I love it!

-- Posted by fun2teach on Fri, Feb 19, 2010, at 5:37 AM

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Corey Noles, staff writer for The Daily Statesman and Editor of The North Stoddard Countian, is the author of a regular baseball/St. Louis Cardinals column and also uses his blog to sound off on various happenings in sports. He also operates a weekly baseball mailbag column.

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