A few years ago, I worked in a job that required me to regularly sit in endless, mind-numbing, day-long meetings. Rather than taking notes on the actual content of the meetings (of which there was very little), I found myself jotting down all of the nonsensical phrases that I was hearing. I was surprised by the number of metaphors that my colleagues (mis-) used in order to get their points across.
I remembered this list of mixed metaphors the other day when I found myself saying to my kids phrases that I thought would never leave my mouth, phrases that I am sometimes convinced have never been said before in history. It occurred to me that at work, we say lots of things that aren't really clear and don't really mean anything, whereas as a parent, we have to speak very clearly, concretely and literally. Judge for yourself from the samples below. Please note: These are all things that I have heard at work or said in my own home (except the ones I attribute to fellow CTWorkingMoms blogger Sarah Bernhardson), I PROMISE.
WORK: "Are we talking about the low-hanging fruit here, or are we talking about the tallest pole in the tent?"
HOME: "Did you just lick the potty?"
WORK: "It's the 30,000 foot view from the plane versus the 5,000 foot view. If someone is in the air traffic control tower, the pilot of the plane needs to let them know if they see something because they know better than anyone."
HOME: "Please take the cow out of the dishwasher."
WORK: "We can't get the sizzle until we get the stove up and running."
HOME: "If you do not swallow the food in your mouth, we will never leave this house again." (courtesy of BernhardsonBunch)
WORK: "The house needs a foundation... the car needs a chassis..."
HOME: "No, baby, I don't think your penis looks like Nemo, but thanks for asking."
WORK: "We need a timetable for the projected deliverables."
HOME: "Did you go poopy?? YAY! I'm doing the happy dance!!"
WORK: "This is all about peeling back the artichoke."
HOME: "Please don't put your naked bum on me/the couch/your brother/the dog."
WORK: "You can't solve world hunger when you are just trying to get dinner on the table."
HOME: "Your bum shouldn't be anywhere near the chicken, anyways." (courtesy of BernhardsonBunch)
WORK: "I don't want anyone not playing nice in the sand when the message comes down from the mountain top."
HOME: "No, I won't help you write "ANDY" on your foot."
WORK: "We don't have a dog in that fight."
HOME: "I don't know if they sell tacos at Wal-Mart."
WORK: "We're at the starting gate and waiting for the gun to fire, but the Project Managers have already left the gate and are chasing the bunny. We need to get in the pace car ahead of them."
HOME: "No, I don't know if you have buns of steel or buns of pudding."
WORK: "Let's take a SWAG at that. (Scientific Wild-Ass Guess, I later learned.)"
HOME: "Yes, I think it will, in fact, hurt if you put that cheese in your eye."
WORK: "We need to use the waterfall methodology."
HOME: "Oh, it wasn't you, it was Grandpa? That's a pretty serious fart if you can hear it all the way from Pennsylvania!"
WORK: "He's Clark Kent and he's Superman, too."
HOME: "Will Super Undies Man please come to the table for dinner?"
WORK: "I'm trying to get under the covers with his expertise."
HOME: "No, I don't know where Gollum's diaper is."
WORK: "We all need to interpret the Constitution."
HOME: "Because I said so, that's why."
If you just can't get enough corporate jargon, check out unsuck-it.com, where you can look up business words that "suck" and have them "unsucked" (i.e. translated, albeit snarkily).