What’s your damage?

I think we should bring back the expression what’s your damage? Although, really, did it ever go out of style?

Originally uttered in the 1988 classic Heathers, the question is more than your typical parabolic preppy-ism.

I’ve heard a few people use this expression recently. Real-life people, to be clear.

While urban dictionary considers the phrase akin to “what’s your problem?” I have to say, I prefer its 80s counterpart.

What’s your problem? puts the burden on the person with the so-called problem. Whatever the problem is, it is their problem and therefore on them to deal with it – though the rest of us may suffer as a result.

What’s your damage? seems somehow…more forgiving. Yes, there is a problem, but that problem isn’t mine to own or mine alone to solve. It’s a collective problem which I find particularly troubling because my damage has taught me to be troubled by it.

People tend to think in certain ways as a result of their experience. Our experience is the lens through which we interpret all we know.

What’s your damage? is like a jocular request for a sincere point of view, with a dark nod to the belief that we are all damaged in our own ways. And that damage shapes who we are.

So, really, now, what is your damage?

 

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