It's been threatening for about a year now and, on the evidence of countless instances on TV news shows, interview shows, talk shows, and the like, as well as from randomly overheard conversation, has finally gone viral — or more properly pejoratively put, gone epidemic. That is, the practice of beginning a spoken response to a spoken question — any question, any question at all — with a free-floating "So,"; a "So," referring or attached to nothing at all. How do these mindless, half-imbecile tics get started and what keeps them alive? If you were to articulate that question in spoken form and we were afflicted with this tic we might answer you thusly: "So, it's a bit of a mystery the solution of which only The Shadow knows." The real question is, of course, How do we go about stamping out this contemptible tic? Were this question put in spoken form, the tic-free, straightforward, spoken answer to the question might be: "It's a bit of a mystery the solution of which only The Shadow knows." Would that we were The Shadow.