07 - It's stupid to marry so young



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No one asks me what I think about teenage marriages.


Okay. You’re a teenager. What do you think about teenage marriages?  


I think it's stupid to marry when you're so young. I'm not going to get married for twenty years.  


Let's see. You're fourteen now. That means you won't get married till you're thirty-four.  


Right. I'm going to be independent as long as I can.  


Ha! Ha! Famous last words!  


Okay is written variously OK, O.K., and okay (according to Webster). Here the expression means "All right, I'll ask you."

Famous lost words. This "catch phrase rejoinder" has come into common usage since about 1945. It is thought to have originated during World War II as a half-joking but really dead-serious rejoinder to such an obviously false statement as Flak (antiaircraft fire) is not dangerous. If a person who made such a statement were immediately caught in flak, they might well be his last words. The phrase may also be a joking reference to the actual "famous last words" of historical personages, such as Goethe's "More light!" and O. Henry's "Turn up the lights. I don't want to go home in the dark." As used here, Famous last words suggests that Tom will get married -and lose his "independence"- at an age much younger than 34.


Nowhere in the United States may anyone under 18 marry without the consent of the parents or legal guardian. In about a third of the 50 states, 18 is the legal age at which men may marry without parental consent. But in over two thirds of the states it is the legal age for women. The fact that many more states permit women to marry at 18 perhaps partly reflects the idea that young women are more mature at this age. It is also probably based on the necessity, in an earlier time when not as many women worked outside the home, for a man to have a job and be able to support a family before he takes on the responsibility of a family. Notice that Tom says, "I'm going to be independent as long as I can (be independent)."

Source: English Teaching Forum - Author: Julia Dobson

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