My favorite haunt at lunch is a place called Panera Bread in Fullerton, Calif., where I usually eat at a table that’s fairly isolated. I mean, I can hear people talk if I crane my neck but otherwise enjoy solitude.
This past Friday, however, since I had my laptop with me and wanted to plug it in to the wall socket, I took one of the tables lined up against the wall.
As I was biting into my Greek salad, a 20something sat down facing me at the next table, which was too close for solitude–the price one pays for using a laptop and having to plug it in.
It wasn’t long before this 20something, an otherwise normal-looking young man, pulled out his cell phone to make his lunchtime round of phone calls while he munched on a sandwich.
Now, I knew that dude was a popular name to call people, but it’s taken on interjection quality nonpareil. It seemed as if Mr. 20something had to use dude every third to fifth word, to wit:
"Dude, how are you, dude? Dude, I’m at lunch, dude, eating a sandwich, dude. What up, dude? Dude, we need, dude, to…."
It seemed impossible to complete a simple declarative sentence without interjecting dude between each element: "Dude, I’m eating a, dude, ham-and-cheese, dude, panini, dude, which is awesome, dude."
I guess it was just the guy on the other end who demanded dude. On the next phone call, Mr. 20something was calling the other guy dog.
When he wrapped up by calling his doctor’s office, all slang was gone, so I concluded that the guy actually could think and speak correctly.
I finished my salad and got the hell out of there, dude.
Or do you prefer dog?