Now that 2015 is safely tucked away, I chuckle my way through a file labelled “Ludicrous Lines from Last Year” before tossing them in the recycle bin:
- One from several months ago in the WSJ – a question: “Dear Dan, I’ve been struggling recently to understand why child birth is so painful…. Your research shows that the more labor we put into things, the more we love them. Could that explain why nature chose this approach – simply to make mothers value their children more? – Tom.” The answer: “I’ll leave the evolutionary biology to others, but my research group’s findings are indeed consistent with your interpretation: The more one is involved with creating something and the more difficult and complex the task, the more we end up loving it. We call this the IKEA effect….” Without reading the author’s names, one could predict this could only be written by two navel-focused male members of our species. Certainly explains why the father’s role as the “coach” during delivery is a lot more fun than the mother’s. And why authors treat their written words as their babies which are too precious to kill.
- Everyone has “rights” these days – even synonyms. We writers are cautioned to refrain from overblown words (“the twenty dollar word where there is a ten-center handy” as instructed in The Elements of Style.) But that can work two ways. Example: one NPR journalist expounded on use of the word “eatery” to describe – what? – “a diner with linoleum counters and vinyl booths?” Sounds good to me. But no – this quote talks about the Palestinian delegation dining at a “swank eatery.” Sounds like an oxymoron if there ever was one.
- Another writer describes the “annual spring flower parade …that rolls through the Dutch countryside” as a spectacle that makes “Pasadena’s Rose Parade look weedy….” Them’s sure fightin’ words.
- And I read so many well-chosen euphemisms woven into daily newspaper printed articles that my eyes slide over and my cognitive brain glibly accepts as true: “Career changes or staff-right-sizing or workforce imbalance corrections” equal “You’re fired!” “Gently used” donated stuff really means old used stuff – cheap. And “post-menopausal, mature or senior” is a polite way of saying “Gosh and bye-golly, but you’re old!”
Sure makes me glad 2016 is here and I can start anew to collect fresh ludicrous statements to chuckle over and pitch out next year.