Twanglish Lesson: Bless His Heart

“If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” I hope whatever parent coined that phrase received royalties on its usage, because every parent I knew when I was a kid wore it out.

But what to do when there are delicate issues of utmost importance that need be discussed – topics like unemployment, divorce, substance abuse, poverty or mental instability? (We of course refer to these problems happening to other people. No proper Southerner would discuss such issues in their own family.)

Turn that would-be gossip into a religious cause and offer a blessing:

Bless His (Her) Heart -idiom 1. saying used to express both sympathy and judgment, often uttered in hushed tones when speaking about those of lesser means or mental ability:

They had to put their youngest boy in the “home,” bless his heart.

No one wants their teenage son to be both stupid and addicted to drugs, but it happens. When it does happen to someone you know – whether it be your hairstylist, or your rival at the country club – you need to be able to discuss it with your real friends. Such weighty matters with only marginal significance to your own life must be processed. Now you have the tools necessary to do so.

You’re welcome … bless your little heart.

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