Do I have a pet peeve? Absolutely. Am I going to share it? Absolutely. Do I have a lot of pet peeves? Absolutely. My pet peeve is the word "absolutely." Everybody who is interviewed on radio, or TV can't answer a simple question without saying "absolutely" when a simple "yes" would do, or if the speaker wants to use more than one word, say "that's true." Every time some interviewee says "absolutely," I think of Rocky Balboa in the movie, and I hear it the way he says it, like a knuckle-dragger on "Jersey Shore."
Wait, there's more. The word "robust" is getting an extreme workout lately, too. It's very popular in political circles. I think it started with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld when he was talking about the Pentagon's "robust" response to terror, or the "robust" defense apparatus. It's interesting how people latch on to these words in an attempt to sound intelligent, like when some one adds "if you will" to a description. "The economy is not doing well; it's stuck in first gear, if you will." Will what? I think the speaker means "if you will accept this hackneyed metaphor," so when I hear "if you will," I say, "OK, I will." Another one is, "as it were." I don't even know what that means. "Abraham Lincoln was a lion among men, as it were."
Nobody wants to sound like an athlete when their interviewed, except, of course, athletes, so they use words that so-called smart people use. I've met a lot of smart people and I'll give you a clue: Smart people are dumb about something. That's right. Everybody is, so don't worry about it. Don't be self-conscious about talking in public. If somebody ever sticks a microphone in your face, talk like you mean it. Sincerity and honesty is just as important as intelligence, or pretense when it comes to communication. I listened to a lot of interviews after the Massachusetts tornadoes. Not one person said "absolutely, if you will," or "as it were."
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