I was just watching a bit of a godawful old shlock sci fi movie called "It Came From Beneath The Sea" [never mind], and several of the characters said something that really gets to me. A little background is called for. In August, 1957, after completing Basic Training, I was sent to Fort Devens, outside Boston, for training in "communications." In those days, this consisted of learning to climb a telephone pole or a tree with ankle gaffs and mastering the fundamental rules of radio communication. We used a little radio called a PRC-10 [universally referred to, I am afraid, as a "prick ten"] which was connected by a roll of wire to the next unit down the way [a sophisticated version of two dixie cups and some string.]
Now, on these old radios. only one person could talk at a time. To talk, you pressed down a button. When that button was down, you could send but you could not receive. To indicate when you were finished talking and were taking your finger off the button so that the person at the other end of the wire could talk, you said "over." You kept going back and forth saying "over" until one of you was all done. That person, instead of saying "over" would say "out," meaning "This conversation is ended and I am turning off my radio."
For the past fifty-five years, I have been grinding my teeth every time some idiot in a movie says "over and out," which is, as we used to say, a contradiction in terms. It is a small thing, but since it is just about the only thing I learned during my six months in the Army [except for how to make a bed with hospital corners] it is important to me.
Probably none of you is a movie actor [although you never know who is reading your blog], but if you are and you are handed a script in which you are called on to say "over and out," do me a favor and gently correct the screen writer or director, will you?