Friday, June 4, 2010

Overused Words and Expressions

How many have you heard today? They're everywhere: in conversation, on television, in email and postal mail, and maybe in your dreams. Americans are fond of being unoriginal in their ways of speaking. Overused expressions are ubiquitous. Metaphorical speaking is popular.

Don't stop reading now, but stay online. We are the salt of the earth and will leave no stone unturned in our search for the Pandora's box of expressions. Just try to wrap your head around them and and relax. Here are my big five overused expressions for today.

(1) That said.  We used to say however or moreover. The first time I remember hearing it was in an Obama speech. Then everyone was saying it.

(2) Wrap my head around.  We used to understand something; now we wrap our heads around it. I even heard it in a sermon last Sunday in church.

(3) Green.  It seems to be about environmental friendliness. We now have green airplanes (fuel efficient), green architecture (made with environmentally friendly materials), green automobiles (using fewer fossil fuels), green technologies, and more. Today in my mail I received a flyer from a cleaning company that proclaimed, "Green is the new color of clean." Is a quiet home without noise green?

(4) Perfect storm. Once it was a crisis or a disaster. Now it is a perfect storm. The oil gusher in the gulf is today's perfect storm. It certainly is a disaster, and the problems of slowing it down are the perfect storm. I haven't heard tornadoes and hurricanes called perfect storms.

(5) Wake up call. When something blows up in our faces, or we experience sudden important changes of heart, we have wake up calls. They used to be insights for action.

We can describe an event such as the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico with metaphors. Once BP was considered the salt of the earth, maybe even a green corporation, but now its executives are trying to leave no stone unturned in trying to see the light at the end of the tunnel. They have had their wake up call and are in the midst of the perfect storm. That said, they are trying to wrap their heads around this disaster as they give up their pipe dreams of uneventful, profitable drilling. There is no more pie in the sky for BP as it bites the bullet in its efforts to get back online. John D. Rockefeller will roll over in his grave with today's policy of drill, baby, drill.