“Should”


Carmel O’Connell, me and my brother, Woodcliff Lake, NJ, 1992.


Sometimes the strangest offhand remark stays in my head, forever.

In the early 1990s, I worked with a woman at Ralph Lauren named Carmel. She later became a friend. Then I lost touch and I don’t know where she is today.

But she told me, back then, that I used the word “should” too much. “Try saying maybe or could but not should,” she advised.

I think about that word “should” and how often I see it used every day online, usually accompanied by advice to behave or buy or acquire a product, a regimen or a diet.

Today, January 16, 2019 a Google search of “should” brings up such titles as:

“If You’re Upset by the Gilette Ad you Should be”

“Why You Should be a Nationalist”

“Why You Should Quit Fruit”

“Why You Should Attend Our Cost Savings Virtual Conference”

“Why You Should Quit Social Media”

“Why You Should Keep Goats”

“Why You Should Change Up Your Running Routine”

“Why You Should Buy a McLaren 600 LT”

“Why You Should Think Twice Before Buying Airplane Coffee”

I could go on forever with should

The word should is weighted. It seems to be a command, a direct order, and something that is absolutely, inarguably necessary. 

We should reject should, if we could, and we can.

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