Thursday, January 05, 2006

Making Sure We're On The Same Page

Hola folks. Hope you enjoy the larger typeface. I'm messing around with different fonts and font sizes purposely, for reasons I will explain in a future post. In the meantime, please feel free to leave comments indicating your approval or disgust.

Now then... I was having a discussion with several people the other day when someone actually used the phrase, "Think outside the box." The fact that we were arguing politics was bad enough (Sorry - they were arguing. I was keeping my mouth shut and trying to remember the lyrics to "Bust A Move.") Upon hearing this little vulgarism however, I nearly retched. What a horrid expression. I don't even know what "Think outside the Box" means. When did I start thinking inside the box? Is the box made of cardboard or wood? Is it square or rectangle? What kind of thinking falls outside it?

Alright - so I lied. I have SOME idea of what it means... I think. 'Be more creative in your thought process in order to achieve a more favorable result.' Fine. Couldn't you say something more along those lines? It doesn't have to be that wordy, of course, but could you please do us all a favor and stop trying to sound "hip" by quoting the latest (or last years) buzzword or catch phrase? You don't sound hip. You sound like a jackass.

Thankfully, I work in a place where these types of phrases are rarely uttered. I wasn't always so lucky though. I've worked in enough bigwiggy corporate environments to have heard some gems. Through a little research (Google), I ran across this link, which is quite simply, a master list of the um... undesirables. Take a look and see if you've ever used any.

Today, because I'm in a whiny sort of mood (as if you hadn't guessed - never underestimate the power of sleep deprivation) I've decided to "take this one step further" and list some of the expressions I most loathe. Some are business related, and some are just unfortunately burned into the very fabric of the language. Who knows? With any luck, you'll think enough of me to stop using them in my presence. If not... well, we can’t be friends. Sorry.

So, without further ado.....

(Some of these appear on the linked list. Some don't. Can't take credit for everything. I'm not that original.)

At The End Of The Day: Basically means "when things are reduced to their simplest forms" - or something like that.... What's so special about the end of the day? I find I'm at my most simple and vulnerable in the beginning, to be quite honest. What about the middle? Perhaps lunchtime or bathroom break? Things are really simple in the bathroom, you know. This phrase can be made infinitesimally worse when used in conjunction with, "when all is said and done", like so:

"But when all is said and done, at the end of the day, I have a preschooler’s command of the English language."

Terms (Concrete & No Uncertain):
Are terms not simply terms? Why are we allowed to qualify them with adjectives? Can they be "solid" or "plaster? Am I asking too many questions? The answer to all of these questions is yes. There is such a thing as "certain terms." They tend to be those that can't be manipulated or worked around. Too often it's used in situations where it shouldn't be though. Plus, it's annoying. Tough guy laying down the concrete terms. Grrrrr...

In My Heart of Hearts: So....... you have more than one, then? One heart to rule them all. One heart to find them.... Something like that?

All Things Being Equal: Again, a phrase that makes sense, but one that is often used incorrectly. When used properly it means, 'If there are no other influencing factors.'

"All things being equal, Choice A is better than Choice B."

Too often though, people use the expression when things are clearly not "equal", or when there are unlimited external factors or when the comparison makes no sense. This is especially noticeable in sports radio.

"All things being equal, baseball is a more enjoyable sport than football." Huh?

Having Said That: Yeah, we heard what you said, sir. No need to tell us you just said it.

Let's Touch Base: I run into an ex-girlfriend in the supermarket. This is someone I haven't seen in a long time - we're talking years here. We go through the usual "How Are You, What Have You Been Up To" banter (Oh nothing... just doing some grocery shopping. Heh..... Hehheh) and chat for about five minutes before we both look for some sort of way to end this awkward conversation. Finally she says, "Well... it was really good to see you. Give me a call soon! We'll touch base."

I suddenly envision the two of us in full Red Sox regalia at an empty Fenway Park. She's over by the tarp near Canvas Alley. I'm on the top step of the visitors’ dugout. In slow motion, we run towards each other. Daydream Believer from The Monkees blares through the loudspeakers as we, our eyes locked on each other, arms open wide, get closer... ever... closer. To the second white square at the infield's apex, whence we meet, I grab her hand in mine and, looking at her longingly, we both reach down and touch, touch, touch the smooth white surface. We feel the loose dirt scrape the tips of our fingers as the hidden foam underneath provides a sensual cushion. Together. Together, amidst the dirt and the grass and the grounds crew. Together, atop the brightest of bright white squares. We are together, once again. Together we have, truly, touched base.

Oh, my Lord, my Lord, my LORD! It isn't the concept I have a problem with. Closure is resolution, and people often need resolution in their lives before they can "move on." After all, they don't like to leave things "open-ended." But within the last, oh... I'd say five years or so, closure has become some sort of trendy cure-all. You hear it everywhere:

"I hope they catch the guy who robbed my house. I need closure."

"This argument has been going on for way too long. We need some sort of closure here."

"I'm glad Johnny Damon signed with the Yankees. At least now I have some sort of closure on the situation."

Absurd. In the absence of any sort of knowledgeable assessment of psychological need, people play pop-psychologist with themselves and become convinced "closure" will fix everything. And yeah, sometimes it will. Just stop telling everyone, would you please? It grates on the ears.

Oh, and speaking of closure....


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not for nothing, but to what end did you write this post?

3:35 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

That's a very good question. I guess a little background is in order. Prior to writing last night's post I had gone almost a full week without posting anything. This is a practice I generally try to avoid for several reasons. First, while none of my posts can be considered stellar, if I go too long without writing I will, more often than not, end up posting drivel when I start again after a longer than normal absence. This post is a perfect example. Secondly, if I go too long without posting, I generally start to hear it from family and certain friends who are, so far as I know, the only people who read this blog with any consistency. They're cool folks, and I like to keep them happy.

Also, as alluded to in the post, yesterday saw me ill with a cold, sleep-deprived because of said cold, and in general bad temperament due to circumstances which I won't get into here. That, combined with having just heard the aforementioned, "When all is said and done, at the end of the day" on a (guess, anyone?) sports radio station immediately prior to writing, prompted me to post what amounts to an impromptu bitch session. You, my friend, unfortunately bore the brunt.

So, to what end(s) did I write the post? Purely selfish ones - the appeasement of my family and friends and a sudden need to whine like a four year old. And, there you are.

Not for nothing.

4:04 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

P.S. I'm feeling much better now.

4:10 PM  

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