Have you ever heard a man, in real life, call his wife “dear?” It happens all the time on television, but I can’t remember any actual human beings ever saying it. Ya know? It feels like there’s some kind of agreed-upon language that people use in movies and TV that’s been in place for so long, we don’t even notice how bogus it is anymore. Because everybody talks that way in the make-believe world. Am I wrong?
Speaking of TV, I watch The Americans, which is set during the early 1980s, before the fall of the Soviet Union. It’s a great show, but I regularly notice things that aren’t accurate to the period. Oh, I’m very good at it. Highly skilled. In fact, I should be hired as a well-paid consultant for such things. I mean, I’m old and bitter and pay attention to every dumbass little thing… I’m the perfect person for the job. I get genuinely annoyed when I spot screw-ups that could’ve been easily avoided. And I can root ’em out like a cadaver dog at PeachFest. Or whatever.
For instance, during an episode I watched a few weeks ago, a character ripped a paper towel off a roll and handed it to someone. It was a small thing that meant nothing. HOWEVER, it was one of those half paper towels, which didn’t exist in 1983, or whatever. Back then it was full paper towels, or nothing. And if they’d had an ancient anal-retentive motherfucker like me on the set, they wouldn’t make such mistakes.
In another episode someone invited a person to taste something in a health food store. She tried it and said, “Mmmm… that’s good.” And the guy answered, “Right?” That’s not 80s talk, that’s 2010s talk. I know because it irritated the living crap out of me when every monkey-see-monkey-do shithead started saying ‘right?’ almost at the same time. It’s in the same category as ‘really?!’ and ‘you know what?’ Oh god, I’m getting a little worked up here.
Season 5 of The Americans is over now, so I thought I could let down my guard for a few months. But no. I watched an episode of I’m Dying Up Here on Showtime last night. It’s about standup comedians during the early 1970s. And, so far, it’s not very good. I’m willing to watch a few more episodes, but my thumb is on the eject button.
In any case, there was a woman onstage doing her act, talking about Pet Rocks. I haven’t confirmed it, but it feels like that phenomenon happened during the mid-70s. Not 1973. So, that felt off. But even worse… she referred to her Pet Rock as a ‘rescue.’ Are you serious?? I was so agitated I thought about going out and starting a warehouse fire. It’s just ludicrous. People didn’t use the super-obnoxious word ‘rescue,’ as it pertains to cats and dogs from the pound, until the late 1990s. According to my inner-sensors, anyway.
Stephen King’s 11/22/63 novel, about a man who goes back in time to try to stop the Kennedy assassination, is sprinkled with those kinds of things, too. I can’t think of anything specific, but recall grinding my molars a few times while I was reading it. It was mostly characters speaking phrases that were not in use during the early 1960s.
And since we’re on the subject of language, corporate buzzwords also make me mildly insane. They’re generally embarrassing and stupid, but that’s not what annoys me. Not really. It’s that everybody starts using them at the same time. The phoniness drives me crazy. The worst I’ve heard recently is ‘bubble up.’ Are you familiar?
About a month ago I witnessed a conversation that went almost exactly like this:
Man 1: Well, you need to bubble that up.
Man 2: I did bubble it up!
Man 1: Who did you bubble it to?
Man 2: I bubbled it to Roger and his team.
Man 1: You should probably bubble it to HR, too.
I was just sitting there, my mind struggling to process what was happening before me. What in the everlasting hell?? Am I in a Monty Python skit, all of a sudden?
I need to go now. If you have anything to add to this ridiculousness, please do so in the comments. I’ll be back on Thursday with more hard-hitting journalism.
Have a great day!
Now playing in the bunker
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Lee Harvey Ramone says
There are a whole bunch of current terms that bug the living shit out of me. The optics are really not good on this. See how easy it is for me to be triggered?
Lee Harvey Ramone says
Oh, and FIRST!
I especially hate that one!
My boss started to use “optics” not too long ago to sound trendy, and like Jeff, I, too, had to resist staring a warehouse fire in response. I hope it lands in the business buzzword dustbin very quickly!
net-net — the bottom line
ideation — like “brainstorming,” but for douches
Going forward — could be eliminated in 95% of instances with no discernible difference in meaning
Pain points — challenges
circle back — we might talk again at some indistinguishable, unknown point in the future but probably not.
reach out — Don’t ask someone. Reach out to him.
touch base — talk
I could go on, but I’m too pissed off now.
we need to get operational in this space – we’re behind the other guys
operationalize – make it work
visualize – to understand
streamline – make more complicated
simplify – confuse everyone
work with your guts – work
Oh, God, how I hate “pain points!”
My husband calls me “dear”. He has other pet names for me, but he uses “dear” most of the time.
I hate period inaccuracies, too, Jeff, so I share your pain (even though at first I thought this post was going to be about punctuation). Like when the people look all clean and fresh in a show set in, say, 1379 England. Do you have any idea how greasy and dirty – not to mention smelly! – those people would have been?? It makes me mildly nauseous just thinking about it.
Clearly you’ve not been to modern day Birmingham in the West Midlands.
I have not. But you have piqued my curiosity and it’s now on my list.
It’s where Ozzy Osbourne is from. He’s some of the cream that rose to the top. Enjoy!
Stop Naming Nuts! says
Or the opposite. I’m thinking of the “A Little Bit of England” episode of Baa Baa Black Sheep featuring a clean-shaven Peter Frampton allegedly marooned on a south pacific island along with his perfectly conditioned and feathered mane of 1978 hair. It’s hysterical.
I only call my wife dear when I want it clear that I do not agree but do not want to argue about it. Right you are dear.
Run it up the flagpole and see if that dog will hunt.
Oh, and hydrate. You mean drink water, right?
“Dear” is old-fashioned, I use it to be corny sometimes.
Jeff, don’t ever watch “The Goldbergs”, the 80’s references will make your head explode.
My company is a leader in bullshit-speak. “Let’s do a deep dive on that”; we need to “align” with this and that; “execute on that”; “can you speak to that?”; “he was a real rock star”. It is what it is.
“You just forgot your one pet name for me
And all those promises you said you’d keep
And it’s a lucky thing
Because that sentimental stuff
Doesn’t suit you
I’m perishing in the pencil rain.
Pencil Rain is one of my TMBG favorites, because John and John paraphrase a line from one of my favorite poems, The Emperor of Ice Cream, by my favorite poet, Wallace Stevens. The first verse:
Call the roller of big cigars,
The muscular one, and bid him whip
In kitchen cups concupiscent curds.
Let the wenches dawdle in such dress
As they are used to wear, and let the boys
Bring flowers in last month’s newspapers.
Let be be finale of seem.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.
i havent read the update yet but i just want to thank jeff for coming back and writing stuff for us again.i really like this site been here since the first yea.r i buy all my amazon stuff from jeffs linsk etc to try to support the surf report anyways thank you for coming back i really enjoy your writing and humor
I agree! Now if the Kays would just reinstate contact with the in laws, all would be right in the Surf Report Reader world. I would love to get to read an update on the Translucents. I don’t know how Jeff’s mental health would handle health would handle it, but I must admit that I selfishly long for a family reunion.
I call my ex-wife dear from time to time.
Pet Rocks did not come around until 1975.
It annoys me when there are characters who have clean puffy hair in circumstances where it’s highly unlikely. Sometimes the main star will be appropriately greasy, but the guys further down in the billing look Breck-conditioned and blow-dried. Makes it hard to believe that it’s 1895, or 1965, or that aliens have shut off all the power.
Matt Damon’s teeth in Saving Private Ryan. They are so bright the Germans would have targeted them from Berlin.
Spielberg needs to release a new Special Edition that has authentic, digitally realized 1940s teeth!
Noticed people started using the phrase “at the end of the day” a whole lot. I edit a lot of corporate video and it seems like every corporate middle manager has to punctuate their points by prefacing it with “at the end of the day blah blah blah blah…”. Just suddenly started to happen like they all got together and had a meeting and said this is what we’re saying from now on on. The great thing is as an editor I can just cut it out so doing my part who eliminate it.
Yes, and everyone starts every sentence with “So”. Like everything’s just one never-ending sentence.
I want to make people’s heads explode when they start that “So” shit. Or another fave: OK, So…
Mr. T says
Amen. I can’t stand the “so” shit either.
I have a theory that it’s a product of the dominant personality type. If person A asks, “When will the task be finished?”, and person B answers “It is scheduled to be completed next month.”, that puts person B in the submissive role of responding to person A’s inquiry. But if B answers “So, the task is scheduled to be completed next month.”, it sounds more like a declaration than a response. Essentially, they’re thinking, “I’m being assertive and telling everyone when the task will be done, because I’m in control”, instead of, “well, this person asked me a question, so I tried to give him the best answer I could think of”. The use of “So” is prevalent in places where dominant personality types tend to work, so it makes sense to me.
Not Oprah says
My brother uses ‘Dear’ for my S-I-L same as Limey above – essentially when he has some other choice words which he chooses not to use.
I am an accountant and hear lots of geeky/ make you cringe phrases that are overused. ‘quick & dirty’ is the worst- really? – this is accounting. I hate the HR term that you have to ‘brand’ yourself these days. Yeah, I’ll brand you alright but it’s going to hurt.
Not timeline related – but a friend of mine used to go on about the movie ‘Fargo’. They would scrape their windows before starting the car. I never noted it but certainly a hollywood faux pas.
Anachronisms: in the “Outlander” series, a character who is supposed to be a 1940s person tells another, “Don’t beat yourself up.” Please.
Business-speak: I think we need to drill down. And since I started work at a US navy facility, I can barely keep my head above the acronyms. Apparently TPS Reports are a real thing here. And I can’t find the new cover sheet. Furthermore, my PTO situation is dire.
As far as the rescue Pet Rock is concerned, I’m pretty sure “rescue” the transitive verb didn’t get nouned until the mid-2000s. This is a little unusual; normally it’s the nouns that get verbed. But in this case it’s become an adjective too. Extra bonus.
I loathe corporate speak, and am particularly irritated by the phrase “align your trajectory”. Why can’t they just HAVE GOALS like everyone else?
Harley Squirrelnuts says
I only hear “dear” when I’m in shit.
“Narrative” is the latest word that sends me into a rage.
Rocky Bullwinkle says
Back when I was in the corporate world, fellow toadies and I played our own ‘buzzword bingo’ game. Had the terms like, ‘run it up the flagpole’, think outside the box, etc on a bingo card and each time we heard one, we’d mark it off.
The challenge to “win” was interjecting a comment, and inserting the word ‘Bingo’ in the sentence.
It made interminable meetings at least a little more tolerable.
Jeff, you and your colleagues should try this for entertainment.
and to confirm what someone else pointed out -Jeff you are right, pet rocks were invented in 1975.
Back to feeling old; I once told a co worker that making a million could be easy. All it takes is one dumb idea, hell put a rock in a box and people would buy it. ….(crickets)…..
I worked at a pharma research center where all your bosses were PhDs whose only work experience was a couple of post-docs at big universities. At a “brainstorming” meeting with the veteran lab hacks, my 28yr old boss layed out this one, “there are no such thing as problems, just opportunities for excellence.” She delivered this buzz-proverb with a know-it-all, jackolantern smile like a naive meat robot. After the peals of laughter died down, the meeting was ended. Later she was seen being consoled in a hallway by a couple other meat robots.
That expression is literally hanging on a wall in my workplace facility.
all these comments and synergy hasnt been mentioned maybe that little corporate buzzword has finally died off
There’s a girl who works at my local Starbucks who calls everyone dear with complete sincerity. She’s probably about 15 years younger than I am, so it’s a little weird.
Jeff, give I’m Dying Up Hear another go. I’m about three or four episodes in and it gets pretty good.
Wisey in Ttown says
I call my wife dear when I am pissed.
Agile. Scrum. Sprint. DevOps, and anything else that’s camelCased.
I’m concerned that camelCase might be an InfoTech buzzWord, so I tried to look it up on my iPhone and then remembered that I carry a FlipFone. SheeeIt.
Wisey in Ttown says
Camelcased sounds NSFW, better not check Urban Dictionary while at work.
“In our wheelhouse” is particularly annoying to me.
JR in FallCity says
We had to look up on the inter webs when those white plastic lids were invented for coffee cups because I thought they were too new for the show….but it turned out they were historically accurate on that one.