Mightier Than The Pen

Making The World A Bitter Place

How Are You? Wait, Wait, Please Don’t Answer.

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Nothing beats clear communication. The quickest way to establish closeness and constructive relationships involves clear, honest expression, such as when your kids contort their faces in unnatural ways when presented with the food you worked so hard to prepare (just in case you were wondering, it means you’re an utter failure as a parent).

Unfortunately, vagueness, euphemism and cowardice have taken their toll on our discourse. I have nothing against politeness, but politeness is meant to soften, not negate, the directness of a message, saying, “How do you do?” instead of, “I acknowledge your presence, but actually have little or no interest in your welfare, so please, either bring up something interesting or signal an end to our conversation.”

To help combat this scourge, I have compiled a litany of some of the most egregious examples from everyday conversation or news coverage, followed by a translation into plain English.

It’s not about the money: It’s about the money.

How dreadful: I don’t care all that much, but feel the need to acknowledge that some tale of woe has just been related.

Just a minute: I intend to keep you waiting as long as I damn well please. I might even forget that I was supposed to address you. Either way, I pray that you give up before trying to get my attention again.

He’s in a meeting: He has no intention of conversing with you, as he perceives you as unworthy of his direct attention.

I’ll get back to you: I will promptly forget about this conversation.

Take care: I really could not care less what happens to you after this point.

Read my lips: I am lying through my teeth.

…I see: Sweet Jesus in a bikini! Are you out of your mind?!

The greatest X since Y! X isn’t nearly as good as Y, but by invoking Y, we want you to think it is.

If you liked Y, you’ll love X! See above.

Each sold separately: You can only have all the fun we show in this ad if you spend oodles of money.

Ask your doctor about X: We’re not allowed to directly market our drug, but come on.

Four out of five dentists chose X! …and the fifth one determined X to be painfully fatal.

How nice: How disgustingly boring.

Mmm-hmmm: I’m not listening.

You have lovely eyes: You have lovely breasts.

How dare you! I care far too deeply about perceived affronts to my dignity.

Is there a problem, officer? Oh, please, oh dear God, no breathalyzer…

Excuse me, sir, you got some spare change for the bus? Excuse me, sir, you got some spare change to help me drown my sorrows in alcohol or drugs of some sort?

Guns don’t kill people; people kill people: We care more about guns than about people.

Got anything to add? Go right ahead. I’ll get back to you.


Written by Thag

January 20, 2011 at 10:33 pm

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