Saturday, December 19, 2009


These vexing little phrases creep into our conversations every day and refuse to leave. If you use any of these expressions on a recurring basis, make a sincere effort to stop or risk losing my support and approval.

“With all due respect." It's an empty expression since it not only shows no respect , it manages to stick its thumb in your eye.

Here's an example of how you could at least add some honesty to the glaring insult.

“With all due respect, sir, your thoughts and observations are the obtuse ramblings of a man on hallucinatory drugs who hasn't slept in a week.”

“Be that as it may.” This clumsy phrase goes all the way back to Chaucer's time and should have stayed there. Whoever is silly enough to use this old chestnut is saying that while your premise may be legitimate, I'm not buying it.

How about this? Just leap over this verbal baggage and land on the point you're trying to make.

“What goes around comes around.” This sounds like it might have been coined by Mary Poppins. This optimistic little phrase is meant to suggest that people who do terrible things to others will eventually have terrible things done to them. Yes, maybe in the land of Disney. But it's hard clinging to such a rosy vengeance if you read the daily papers and watch the evening news.

“It goes without saying.” If it goes without saying, don't say it.

“Do you mind if I ...” smoke in your home, flirt with your wife, swim naked in your pool, dress your dog up in sunglasses and a wig. The reason I dislike this phrase and usually the person asking the question is that it's so manipulative.

The one doing the asking fully intends to do what he wants, but is couching his request in a polite but phony framework. He knows the chances are pretty good that you're not going to say: “Yes, I do mind and I resent your devious behavior.”

“Bite me!” This rude and sarcastic expression means bite my ass. It's apparently replaced or greatly reduced the usage of “get lost” and "screw you."

I guess the more charitable expressions like, "leave me alone, creep" are no longer valid as they lack the edge and venom of a punch to the head.

"Let me be clear." Now that's a good plan and something different. Instead of your usual obscure, rambling and foggy gibberish -- try assembling a thought that makes sense.


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