Friday, October 22, 2010

This could quite possibly be the greatest post ever written

Huge? Historical? Awesome? Really?

I'm not sure about how things are in other societies, but my culture absolutely brims with exaggeration, overstatement and hyperbole. The bigger and the more outlandish...the more it's noticed and the better it sells.

No demographic subset epitomizes this trait more than the American teenager. I love this scene from the film, Dan In Real Life, in which Steve Carell's character, Dan, informs his adolescent daughter that her new boyfriend is not welcome on their family weekend getaway:

Murderer of love, indeed. If I had a Krispy Kreme glazed for every time my kid told me I was ruining her life, I'd have enough to do a fundraiser for her school. Our most recent encounter went something like this:

"Dad, I got a pink slip yesterday at school."


"Because I was tardy to class."

"Why were you tardy to class?

"Because I had to get a pretzel because I was starving."

"Starving? You were starving? You weren't starving."

"I was starving, Dad."

I left it at that. I hate to sound like every parent throughout history, but kids in Africa are starving. Not my kid, who hadn't eaten anything for thirty-seven minutes. And that just illustrates how pervasive this over hyped drama is and how we're all guilty of it.

Exaggeration permeates the public airwaves, especially when it comes to sports broadcasters. How often have you heard statements like:

"That could very well be the greatest amount of Gatorade ever dumped on a coach."

"Folks. Remember this day. You and I are witnessing history being made, as Lebron James has become the first player to receive a new tattoo at halftime."

If it isn't television or other mass media, our workplaces are rife with statements of excessive enthusiasm:

"If you can get me that report by two o'clock, that would be awesome." Seriously? Childbirth is awesome. A report turned in by two is maybe a step or two above acceptable.

"You look amazing today! Those boots are sensational!" This statement only works if it's Buzz Aldrin speaking to Neil Armstrong on the moon's surface.

So America, let's give it a shot and tone it down—no more super sizing our speech for maximum impact, because it's all beginning to sound phony, anyway.  I'm going to attempt to heed my own advice here, and really try to avoid word inflation, but for now, I hope your weekend is a religious experience.

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