Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Incantations

Words. They transport, crush, conquer, save. There is no power on earth like the right phrase at the right time. Perhaps I didn’t write, “The quality of mercy is not strained…” but I think I originated: “I have other plans,” and “It’s complicated.”

I suppose if I could pass along anything to subsequent generations, it would be the wisdom of a well-placed, “You have me mixed up with someone else,” “I can’t talk now, my dog just died, ” or “I guess I was drunk.”

The god-awful magic of language. Treat it respectfully, use sparingly. Remember, words are just the notes – you must write the symphony.

I’d like to go on and on and make this a respectable essay and maybe sell it somewhere. And I would, but I have other plans and it's complicated and my dog's not looking too chipper.

42 comments:

  1. "Let me get back to you on that."

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  2. You can never have too many handy phrases. "You're truly an inspiration to us all," offered to cut short her outpouring, is one jaw-dropping one that a friend of mine told me about yesterday.

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  3. Very clever. As for me, I usually do very well with "Ask your father."

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  4. I asked your father and he thinks you're an inspiraton, but let me get back to you on that.

    GG

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  5. "What's up, Fuzzybutt?"
    "Kitty! Don't eat the postcards!"

    I need to get out more.

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  6. I was going to respond in a 17 to 19 strophe haiku, but Winston, my Great Dane came into my study with my latest and favorite tennis cap. It was in more pieces than the pattern from which it was designed and built. I lost my inspiration, so in my diminished capacity, I give you a simple 5 sprophe, “It be what it be.”

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  7. Sorry I'm late.
    The dog ate the alarm clock.

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  8. "It's not you, it's me."

    (okay, I have the best WV of all: updump. I believe I was updumped with the above line once.)

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  9. I'm so litter-all. I hope the dog is actually just fine, if not I hope she/he feels better soon, a cliche but sincerely felt.

    wv: sycoarph
    (get it: Psycho, Arf!!)

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  10. Dog is fine PJ sweetie, but I think I will change her name to sycoarf. She is getting senile -- as they say, some broken squeak toys in her attic.

    Oh Laurie, do we have to talk updump? I suppose I've got as good as I've given. But at least I still have my alarm clock.

    JS: Ouchily condescending.

    WV: Resinfi: Italian for "your sins will come back to haunt you."

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  11. "It is with mixed feelings that we say goodbye to..."

    "This is truly a bittersweet moment..."

    I'll quit now because it's obvious that I'm just (WV)"jazingit."

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  12. People used to say "You just wouldn't understand", now it is "It's complicated" - my ego cannot take either one. But usually the only person I know who says it is my son, so he just gets yelled at. I guess I just don't understand these complicated things.
    (PS - "I'm back!" - finally done with sorting a year's worth of paperwork & filing taxes.)

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  13. I'm a fan of, "Well you see there was traffic..."

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  14. I like the "It's complicated" response, accompanied by a gentle sigh and a little tilt of the head. Sometimes I come unglued when people ask the most innocent questions, like "How's your daughter?"

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  15. Latine dictum

    Lectio brevior lectio potior

    A fronte praecipitium a tergo lupi

    Sapere aude!

    Like an unblinking eye that probes the inside of your brain looking for stray accusations

    Sat sapienti
    Sat

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  16. It is what it is.

    (Isn't it?)

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  17. I'm sorry, KB, were you trying to say something?

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  18. Oh -K- - I hate "It is what it is." It's the ultimate cop out. I heard it first from an employee of mine. Translation: "That's all you're getting from me. Deal with it." Alternative translation: "Tough S---."

    Good one!

    WV: ranthooe, and I think I just did!

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  19. That's the way I say it Susan.

    Ok, what about the person who begins a sentence with "Look" or "Listen." First, such people are complete windbags, and it implies you are incapable of looking or listening without the instruction.

    Pardon me, I have to translate some Latin.

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  20. I go in front of the Cultural Inquisition today. If the words don't come; no kibble (translation: crushed). It's complicated.
    Tash...I'm going to have to fluff up the history of the concrete horse. It's complicated.

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  21. To embellish K's: " At the end of the day, it is what it is." I'll scream if I hear that again.

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  22. Look, PA, the words had better come 2day bcuz I need some kibble!

    Listen, MrE, you're gonna give bosses a bad name with an attitude like that toward your EE's.

    Pardon me, it's getting busy in this Cafe & I still have to translate some comments.

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  23. A new one I'm going to use at every opportunity, overheard during the lunch hour:
    "I believe you're fogging up my monocle."

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  24. As one of my favorite characters in lit would say, "Sink me." Maybe you have to be British to carry this one off.

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  25. Tim Conway isn't British. With the eekonomy the way it is a monocle could be veddy practical. And you might become a classic, or even an ode to a classic.

    wv guntatsk

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  26. "Sink me."

    Without availing myself to any algorithmic searches, I will guess this is from the Scarlet Pimpernel.

    "They seek him here, they seek him there..."

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  27. "I've been misinformed."

    My wv is ovens. Really.

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  28. I got to use one of my incantations today. I was chatting with my GP during my annual physical, and she asked how our three cats and three dogs all got along. I started to launch into a long-winded reply, then shrugged and said, "It's complicated."

    A variation is, "It's a complex situation."

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  29. Well, actually one I overuse in real life is "My head is exploding." But you know, everyone seems to believe it.

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  30. I have found myself using the phrase, "That blocks my chi" three times in the last two days.

    I'm not even sure I know what that means, but people nod all knowingly.

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  31. Susan C: A Chi-blocker, I love it!

    - Complicated -

    She looks so simple in her way
    Does the same thing everyday
    But she's dedicated
    To having her own way
    She's very complicated
    Women seem to fill her mind
    And many men in so short time
    But she's underrated
    She treats me oh so kind
    She's very complicated
    We talk together and discuss
    What is really best for us
    She's sophisticated
    My head's fit to bust
    Cause she's so complicated
    She knows just how to please her man
    Softer than a baby lamb
    But she's educated
    Doesn't give a damn
    She's very complicated
    She looks so simple in her way
    Does the same thing everyday
    But she's dedicated
    To having her own way
    She's very complicated

    - The Rolling Stones

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  32. During the presidential campaigns, if I heard "thrown under the bus" one more time, well, my head was going to explode.

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  33. I'm late for a very important date no time to say hello goodbye I'm late I'm late I'm late

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  34. Laurie: Very maverickie of you to say so!

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  35. susan, this is me, nodding knowingly. Earl, I love that. And just one last one to go w/ Laurie's, that I hate, I hate, I hate: Toxic assets.

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  36. "He seemed like such a nice guy."

    Usually uttered by neighbor after shooting spree.

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  37. Those so-called, "Toxic Assets", will soon convert into "Green Assets" for some lucky investors.

    Environmentally sound policy...

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  38. words are just the notes – you must write the symphony. back at ya

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  39. You know, I've been meaning to tell you...

    http://potentiallynervous.blogspot.com/

    wv hydro

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  40. Look, it's time to start thinking outside the box! (What box?)

    You're blocking my feng shui. And my chai and my chi.

    My WV, honest, is "rambo."

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