A few months back, my sister and I were discussing the wonders of the Southern language. After examining all the single syllable words that are made into two-and sometimes-three syllables, (Like, "Seth" becomes, "Say-eth.") we decided that our favorite thing about the Southern language is "Bless his heart."
I love this phrase. It is the most wonderful (and arguably powerful) phrase in the Southern language. "Bless his heart" is the verbal equivalent to the sound that a sword makes as it is leaves its sheath. If you hear "bless his heart," you know that someone is about to be sweetly lanced.
"Bless his heart, he's just slow in the head. Maybe he hit it on somethin' when he was little..."
"Bless his heart, he's put on a few pounds."
"Bless his heart, he's just a gay."
"Bless his heart, he's dummer than a box of dirt."
"Bless her heart, she's awfully flat upstairs."
"Bless her heart, she inherited her daddy's metabolism."
"Bless his heart, his momma told me that he just can't seem to stop wettin' that bed."
"Bless his heart, his acne just makes ya wanna throw-up."
But don't get me wrong; "Bless his heart" doesn't really make you feel bad. First off, the recipient rarely hears it. Secondly, if you do hear it, it can really be consoling to your poor slob-self. It is like a big, warm dummy blanket.
"Bless your heart, you just got all tangled up in those words, didn't ya?" - Laura Bush to Dubya after any old speech.
"Bless your heart, you didn't know that your swim-trunks had slipped off on after that second lap. You just swim too fast. You're so fast, I think I'll call you 'flash'... no, scratch that... awe, bless your heart, don't cry, I didn't mean to make a joke..."
"Bless your heart, you may not have hit the ball, but you sure did swing that bat good! Bless your heart, if you don't make it in baseball, you'd be an expert wood-chopper!"
Yessir. You can have your snobby "to be or not to be,” or "I have a dream."
I'll take "bless his heart" any day of the week. Because, unlike the other lofty preambles, "bless his heart" is really a prayer. "God, bless his heart, because You obviously aren't going to bless much else on the poor sucker. In Jesus name, a-men."
Just. So. Beautiful. Sniff.