A couple of days ago, The head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, said the USA was caught between a fiscal precipice and a debt ceiling. I thought, well make up your mind, lady, we need to know whether to call a home handyman or a geologist.
I was already aware of the glass ceiling, and now I learn we have a debt ceiling. Wow, the guy in the apartment above us is living on borrowed time.
When I mentioned it to him, he told me not to worry, he had a golden parachute and anyway, he was heading for a soft landing.
Which brings me to the subject of cliches and how quickly we – and by ‘we’, I really mean the media – overuse often invented phrases, some of which make no sense at all.
ABC talking heads love to say “All pervasive.” Okay, as opposed to what? Half pervasive?
You will no doubt have observed that people lost at sea are never rescued, they’re always, as required by mandated statute, “plucked” from the water. Use of the words ‘Pluck’ and ‘water’ in the same sentence always reminds me of a singularly unpleasant duty – part of the early preparations for Sunday dinner – that fell to me during my teen years.
And then there’s the “Aha moment”, which I take to mean when you suddenly realize what everyone else has known forever.
During the period just after 9/11 when Quantitative Easing, (see, I’m as bad as the rest), was the phrase de jour, (yeah, I know), there was a search for ‘shovel ready’ projects. So when was the last time you saw someone with a shovel? Plant a rose bush these days and you hire a ditch witch as a minimum.
Back to Quantitative Easing; that was code for printing money and throwing it around like confetti at a rich banker’s wedding, simply because no one had the first clue as to what really should’ve been done.
One of my all time American favorites - amazing how many of these inane phrases originate across the pond – is “Mama Grizzlie” You know, once upon a time, calling a lady a mama grizzly would get you a smack in the mouth. It’s says, big, fat, grumpy and quite possibly hairy. But now Republican women take pride in the term.
Another thing Sarah Palin has to answer for.
How about ‘Awesome’? Which now means “run of the mill”. Heaps of people encounter something awesome at least twenty times a day. This morning a waitress thought it awesome that I could order a cappuccino without looking at the menu.
I’ll finish with some translations of phrases oft used in News reporting.
- Fled on Foot – Ran away
- Verbal altercation – they yelled at each other
- Physical altercation – when they were done yelling, one or both smacked the other.
- Blunt force trauma – Someone wacked someone else with something big and roundish
- Expressed concern – Had a whinge
- Deceased – Dead, (probably after suffering blunt force trauma during a post verbal, physical altercation that began when someone expressed concern).
So now you know.