If You’re Gonna Say It, Then Don’t Say It the Way You Just Said It!

Ah, the written word….the-corporate-speak-zombieso much more reliable than its close cousin, the spoken word. Way back yonder in them thar olden days, folks would have to commit important happenings and occasions to memory. And what was the most efficient way to accomplish this? Turn them into a story to be passed down from generation to generation, of course.

Can’t you just see it?

The Chief Elder, dressed in fur, staff in hand, flames from the fire dancing off his wise bearded face. throngs of children, young people, and adults alike awaiting for this gifted storyteller to weave his tale of adventure, romance, and intrigue.

Then, one day, some party-pooper picked up a piece of charcoal, or some such other soft piece of material that would make a mark, and commenced to scribbling on the cave wall… and there you have it–the twenty-six letters of the alphabet are born.

Now, I have mentioned the spoken word, the written word, but left out one very important part of today’s language, and that is none other than the stupid word. Please allow me to explain.

I spent nearly 16 years of my life in and around the corporate world, and every so often a new phrase, spoken only in what we will now dub “corporate speak,” would surface, rear its ugly head and spit out some silly nonsense.

Such as:

Think outside the box.…… Now that I’ve stopped laughing, I will admit that even though I know what this means, will somebody please tell me…… What does this mean!!! Do we really need this cornball phrase to tell us not to be like Jethro; instead embrace creativity. I hereby ban this saying and replace it with my own…… Don’t be stupid.

Here’s another little ditty:

Too much on my plate.…… Boy, there’s one for the ages. The last time I had too much on my plate…….I don’t think I’ve ever had too much on my plate. I have no choice but to flush……… and down the porcelain La-Z-Boy she goes.

How about number three:

Low hanging fruit……… I sure would like to know who came up with this one. Just in case you don’t know, it means to get the easy tasks out-of-the-way first. I can only imagine the phrases the creator of this one canned on the climb toward number one.

Picture wavy lines and fading scenery as dreamscape music ushers you to another time and place. The place where corporate speak is created. It’s a small room. The walls and ceiling are painted an institutional white. The single door and frame painted an inviting light gray; the carpet a stain resistant dark gray. There are no windows, and a small fluorescent fixture in the ceiling, its worn-out bulbs blinking to the tune of Good Golly Miss Molly. A small man, in a gray suit, with dark framed glasses, sets at a small gray desk humming, Ain’t No Woman Like the One I Got.  Every now and then he’d release a phrase and allow it to flow around the room before shooting it down into the trashcan and sending up another.

Let’s move in closer and intercept some of these words of wisdom.

1) Smash the eggs and let the birds go for now. We’ll blast them from the sky later.

Nah, too long and a hair too violent.…… I know… how about?

2) Stomp’em afore they get too big.

Won’t work either. The length is close, but the content’s just not quite there. I’ve got it!

3) It was the best of times, it was the worst…….

Nah, it’s been done to death.

What do they want from me? I’m going with my first choice, the hanging grape thing, the one my supervisor shot down. I’ll show him. It will become the greatest, nonsensical, off-the-wall corporate speak phrase ever uttered! Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!

Needless to say, the phrase enjoyed moderate success and the employee was transferred to the mail room.

Now for the crème de la crème:

4) Who’s got the rock?

I refuse to waste virtual paper and ink on this ridiculous collection of words.

 So there you have it. Give mankind a toehold to create something totally unnecessary and of use to absolutely no one, and he’ll do it.

In a way, it reminds me of this blog. Chocked full of useless information; ready to use at your discretion.

Until next week

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