The exclaimed "Oh!" can be at its worst when it is ominous; when it is exclaimed by my elderly mother. On my last visit, I heard its high-pitched ring from her bedroom, and I found her on her fanny, legs sprawled out. She'd slipped off her too-slippery blue satin bedspread, as she tends to sit down too close to edge of the bed.
Luckily it was just a little slip, not a fall, and that "Oh!" hopefully has been squelched, as we have placed a thick nubby throw over the slippery bedspread.
My favorite "Oh!" is the revelatory one exclaimed by my children.
Actually it can be more of an "Oooooh!" as certain truths (or non-truths) dawn on one or the other of my boys. As when Kenny can be thinking thoughtfully, as he can when we're stuck in traffic and there is no Nintendo DS: "Oooooooh! Guess what! Do you even know what the world would be like if there were no children? Santa's elves would have no jobs. Because there would be no toys to make. And then Santa would not need his sleigh."
Here's the history behind this particularly exclamatory "Ooooooh": Ryan likes to turn every new toy over to see where it's been made, and (lost in his own thoughts, as he was deprived of his own Nintendo DS) he'd asked why was it everything was made in China.
I'd launched into the true story of how it seems that everything is made in China because a lot of factories have closed down in our own country. And without the factories there are a lot of lost jobs.
"You mean like the Oompa Loompas," Kenny had said. "They worked in a factory." (We're in the midst of reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.)
Then there's the less enthusiastic "Oh." The "Oh" which is as dully expressive as my boys' new favorite, the "whatever." As on this same car trip, when Kenny ruminatively began picking his nose, and I launched into my new mantra that newly-minted seven year old boys (he turned seven on Easter) can no longer pick their noses.
"Oh." So he stopped. Only to resume something equally annoying, if not quite as repulsive, popping the air out of his cheeks like popping balloons.