What a word. What a sentence!
Maybe I’ll live to be one hundred. Maybe I won’t. Probably won’t, but maybe I don’t want to.
Our lives are made up of maybes. You can hardly get through a single day without one. Maybe I’ll have a salad for lunch instead of a cheeseburger and fries. Maybe if I ate better I’d lose weight and be healthier. I’m quite sure I would, but the maybes get in the way. Maybe if I ate better indicates some doubt – I know it and maybe that’s why I say it that way. Maybe I’m doubting my willpower – maybe I’m doubting nutritional science. Maybe it doesn’t matter.
We use maybe as a way to deflect guilt. Maybe I’ll write to my friend Nelson today. I haven’t written to him in many months, maybe years, and he may be my best friend. What kind of best friends wait months to contact each other. Maybe one of them is living in Antarctica, working at a weather station. Maybe there’s no cell service in Antarctica. But maybe there is, but maybe he has no cellphone. Maybe he does not want one. Maybe. Maybe I could send him email, but maybe there’s no internet. Maybe I’ll check. If there is, maybe I’ll send him an email and see how he is doing.
Maybe I will and maybe I won’t. Maybe is also a good word for procrastinators like me. Maybe they do have internet where Nelson is at the South Pole and maybe I could email him. Maybe I will. Maybe I won’t
I don’t have time right now. I have a yard to mow, but maybe it will rain and I’ll have to wait until tomorrow. The weatherman says there’s a 30% chance of rain today, and 40% tomorrow. But maybe the weatherman’s wrong? He often is. Although maybe the weatherman is a she. If he is a she, she’s not a weatherman, so maybe I should have said weatherwoman, or maybe weatherperson?
Weather or not, maybe I should be more careful with weather and whether? But no matter the gender of my weather forecaster, that would not change the prospect for rain. At least I don’t think so, but who knows… maybe it would.
Maybe women are more optimistic than men. Maybe there’s nothing worse in the world of weather forecasters than pessimism… except maybe carelessness! I sure don’t want a careless weather forecaster if a tornado is bearing down on me. I don’t know if my weather “person” is careless or not, maybe he or she is — how would I know? And maybe it really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.
So, maybe an optimistic female weather forecaster would be better than a pessimistic male weather forecaster — maybe there would be less chance of rain if you didn’t need it, and maybe an increased chance of rain if your crops are parched…
All these maybes made me wonder, about the etymology of the word, “maybe”. Actually, when I was in high school, I thought etymology was the study of bugs… and I don’t mean maybe. Honestly, I did. And according to etymologists — which maybe a good job to have as it cannot be too stressful– the word “maybe” comes from middle English (maybe that’s between elementary English and high English?). In middle English, apparently people buzzed around saying “it may be (that)”. I don’t know how they said the parentheses… but that’s middle English for you. Maybe they spoke fluent middle English and parentheses just rolled off the tongue like Spanish people’s trills.
Have you ever counted the number of times you use the word “maybe”? Maybe you don’t use it as much as I do, but then maybe you do. And if you do, have you ever given thought to what you really mean when you say maybe? I’m not talking about etymologists now, but real vernacular-type people. Maybe that’s what’s wrong with English today! Too many etymologists and not enough real folks like us to ponder the word maybe when used by common folk like me and maybe you… and maybe our Uncle Chester too!
Maybe the doctor won’t have to increase my medicine, tomorrow. Maybe he’ll find my gall bladder has shored itself up and will behave, and maybe it won’t have to come out.
Maybe my blood pressure won’t be through the roof when I go to the doctor, tomorrow. Maybe he’ll take word “obese” off my medical history and replace it with “Fat” or “Chunky” or “Husky”. Maybe I’ll come home a “husky” man instead of an obese one, but then maybe I won’t.
Maybe I’ll just cancel the doctor appointment and just see how long I’ll last without doctors. Maybe I’ll last longer without all those pills and sprays and ointments. I sure would like Husky as my body type though. Maybe being called obese doesn’t bother you, and maybe husky is not your cup of tea, that’s cool. But maybe I do. But you don’t have to be like me, maybe you’re not supposed to be. Maybe everyone being different makes the world go ’round. Maybe, it’s really inertia though. I think it was Newton who really liked inertia, but maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it was someone else.
It’s quite a word, isn’t it? Maybe you’re thinking you can go a whole entire day without using maybe even once. Maybe you can, but I doubt it. Maybe today would be a good day to carry a pencil or pen and a little notebook around with you wherever you go. Every time you say maybe, write it done. Maybe you won’t even say it once, but maybe you’ll say it a lot more than you ever thought you would. Maybe it’s high time you found out.
Maybe you’re thinking that reading this was a huge waste of time. And, maybe it was. On the other hand, I bet for the next few hours, you’re going to be thinking of the word “maybe” and trying to stop yourself from saying it, because maybe you don’t want to think about how many times you use the word maybe. One thing is for sure… when you use the word maybe it sure means you’re not sure. No maybe about that.
Maybe by now you understand just what an important word maybe is, maybe you’ll be more careful about how you use it. Maybe I’m only trying to help — or maybe I’m not.
Maybe now, you’ll think the next time you say “maybe”. Then again, maybe you won’t.