Let me complain about a phrase for a second

Father Scott

Like any normal workday, I’ve been here for an hour and was still mindlessly clicking around my Google Reader. MLBTradeRumors pops up as having a new post, so I click on it. It has a reference to an article about the Pittsburgh Pirates’ efforts to sign top pick Pedro Alvarez, and they were referred to as being “cautiously optimistic” about their chances to agree to a deal. If you follow the link, it elaborates:

The Pirates remained privately optimistic a deal will be reached, but cautiously so.

Well thank God. Imagine if they voiced public optimism. Imagine if they staked their claim, publicly, as to their thoughts on the market value of some kid they drafted to run around bases for them. God forbid.

This phrase is insane. Per unchallenged word authority dictionary.com, “cautious” is some combination of “prudent, guarded, wary, chary, circumspect, watchful, vigilant.” Why must one be guarded about optimism?

I think I will live a healthy life. Wait, I shouldn’t have declared that. I should be more vigilant of my phraseology. I think, as long as I maintain a reasonable level of athletic activity, don’t partake in Michael Phelps’ diet, don’t live in a third-world country, and then, God-willing (should there be a God…wouldn’t want to be too declarative), as long as health care remains strong, the economy holds up, no one nukes the shit out of the earth, humans continue living off of oxygen, all automobiles and aircrafts I drive/ride/board are OK, those chicks I bang don’t have gross diseases, and wild animals stay where they belong, I might be lucky enough to have some healthy years, excepting the occasional sickness, a visit or two to the hospital — and, of course, when I say “some” healthy years, I’m really not willing to go on record as expecting any certain number.

Who’s to blame for this? I’ll tell you who:

The Internetter used this phrase like eight times a second during all that hanging chad nonsense from yesteryear. If I were Pax, I would look up actual usages and dates, maybe link to a thing or two. But I’m not Pax, I just throw shit up here and hope that you’ll read it and enjoy it. Actually, let me clarify.

At some intervals (not guaranteed), I’m occasionally prompted to post a thought or interesting story up here. The level of interestingness is, of course, relative. After you read it, my assumption of your participation being more a privilege than a right, I would like to be hopeful that you might have enjoyed it. But that’s a lot to expect. In an ideal world, you may have read some, though definitely not all, and might have nodded or smiled once or twice. Or perhaps you didn’t enjoy my link/thought/picture with funny caption — level of funniness arguable — which is of course understandable. But perhaps it at least made you think. In any case, I understand this not to be something to be counted on, and frankly I’m just thankful of my supporters and loving family, without whom none of this would be possible. I shouldn’t have said possible — that suggests by some property that other things are “impossible”, which thereby suggests some things are “guaranteed,” and, of course, we can’t be sure of that.

Fuck you, ManBearPig.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Let me complain about a phrase for a second

  1. That might be the single greatest piece of writing I’ve ever encountered. It’s a shame I have to call the mental hospital on you now.

  2. When I went home for lunch, I popped in a South Park DVD and wouldn’t you know, it was the one with the ManBearPig episode. I then watched it. While I enjoy making fun of Al Gore, I think Trey and Matt screwed that episode up a bit; the metaphor doesn’t work.

  3. You’re going home for lunch these days?

    Does that mean you have to cut the crust off your own PB&J’s?

  4. I’ve found drinking much easier at home than in the office.

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