Saturday, January 19, 2008


My friend, Jason, has a gift for hyperbole. So do I so I don't have a lot of room to make fun but this one was just way too good to pass up. It's really subtle, I think most readers would miss it. Really I'm doing a public service. Right? Guys?

He wrote a post about the difficulties of loving colorful language while raising a kid who is learning our fair tongue for the first time. To relate the difference in foul language usage between him and his wife he wrote the following:

Terry, on the other hand, hardly ever uses the word “Fuck!” When we were getting our wedding invitations together, and many friends came over (Thanks again!) to help stuff envelopes, Terry said, “Fuck!” and the whole assembly line stopped. Dead. Not because Terry said “Stop!” or “Halt!” or “There’s a mistake!” but because she said “Fuck!” and she never says “Fuck!” So when Terry says “Fuck!” something is really fucking wrong. Several people, including me, looked terrified.

Perfectly harmless, right? No hyperbole there. Oh but no.

Firstly, "many friends came over". Maybe he was counting the voices in my head but as I remember it the assembly consisted of Terry, Jason, me and a really delightful guy named Yves who I think expected a party with occasional envelope licking and instead got a nice glass of lemonade and training to work in a direct mail house. (For the record, I actually love to do mailing campaigns. I would have done all the invitations myself if Terry would have let me. I was in geeky glory at their dining table with my assembly line job.)

The assembly line did in fsct stop because it's not an exaggeration that Terry never uses language like that unless there's someone in the room with their ass on when something goes wrong with a very important task.

"Several people, including me, looked terrified." Tiny sentence, chock full of hyperbole. There were 4 of us in the house. All together I don't think we make "several". More importantly, how would he know if we looked terrified? He was 2 rooms away finalizing another part of the wedding design and conducting NATO-level negotiations with his invitation-mad parents. I'm sure Jason looked terrified, though I'm not certain that was a change from how he looked before Terry busted out the potty mouth. He was knee dip in crises and digging himself out slowly. Still, 2 rooms away, no idea what our faces looked like. Yves, poor dear, did look like someone's ass might be on fire and he really didn't want to have to operate the extinguisher. I can't entirely vouch for my own expression but I'm betting it was more in the bereft range since I was being kept from my neat and tidy assembly line job. The voices love an assembly line job. There might have been a tiny bit of glee as it turned out there was something that was missing from the package and I thought I might get to take it all apart and start over. Terry's look was the very definition of horrified. She's nothing if not forward-thinking and detail-oriented so for a piece of the puzzle to be missing this late in the game was truly unthinkable.

Don't worry, we found a work around and everything went off without a hitch. I mean, they got married and people showed up to see it so we must have done something right.

In defense of hyperbole, the way Jason tells it is better, isn't it? I had to set the record straight, though, it's what Terry would have done.


  1. I do love me some hyperbole. It really does make for fun stories...

    (by the way - the way you wrote this makes me smile. This is some GOOD writing, Girlfriend. Take it from someone who knows...)

  2. For the record, I WAS in the room. I was working on the computer in the back after she swore.

  3. Thanks, Chili, that was very nice of you to say.

    Jason, in cases like this my grandmother taught me to say, "You may be right but I don't think so." :) I only stand by my conviction because I have a distinct memory of your voice, tight and a little panicked, wafting in from the other room to answer, "What?" to her "Fuck." and then you came into the dining area. But I was kind of in a beautiful mass mailing trance so who knows, it may be a false memory.