I’ve never understood the phrase, “Let me tell you something.”
Mainly because, the person making that statement is not implicitly asking permission to tell you something. It’s just a forewarning that they are about to tell you something.
And that something, bearing that forewarning, is supposed to be viewed as the most important part of what that person is saying in the first place.
No one is saying, “Let me tell you something…. Pickles are awesome.” Well, maybe they are, but they’re probably drunk, or high, or both.
But people do say, “Let me tell you something…. Them there alligators will kill you.” Well, okay, at least one person is saying this, doing swamp tours in the bayou. And if you’re in the bayou, knowing that an alligator can kill you is pretty important. A lot more important that one’s subjective love for pickles.
I got to thinking though. Next time the phrase does come up in a conversation, and I’m on the receiving end, I’m just going to answer them.
“Let me tell you something Brian.”
“No,” or even better, “Shouldn’t you say please?”
Just to see how they react. I’ll probably forget to be so quick with my response should that occasion arise, but it would be funny.
This all goes back to my feeling that the English language has a tendency to make something simple complicated. No, I’m not just going to tell you what it is that I was going to tell you. Not just yet anyway. I am going to preempt it with the fact that I am going to tell you something. Then in fact tell you what I wanted to in the first place.
Now let me tell you something. I just don’t get it.