By Lese Dunton
When I was a little girl, my favorite thing to read was MAD magazine. I couldn’t wait for the next issue.
I would ask my older brother excitedly, “When will it come out again?” He would reply, “In about a month.” I remember thinking… how long is a month? That seems like a long time to me. Dang.
My favorite section was called, “What they say and what it really means.” For example, when your parents say, “It’s not the money, it’s the principle of the thing,” what they really mean is, “It’s the money.”
Or when they say, “This hurts me more than it does you,” it really means, “It hurts you more.” This was very helpful to know as a young child navigating through life. A great guide to live by.
So now as a grownup, or someone posing as one, I like to notice when translations are needed. For example, when the IT department says, “Don’t worry, it will be a seamless transition,” it really means, “Nothing will ever work right again.”
Or, “It should be pretty straightforward” means, “It should be, but it’s not.”
“There has been a slight hiccup” translates to, “Brace yourself, it’s a disaster.”
If a company website announces, “Our staff has over 125 years of experience collectively,” it means, “We’re searching for new ways to make it sound like we know what we’re doing.”
“I can supply a list of references!” means, “Thank God my friends have agreed to say something nice about me.”
When someone answers your question with, “We haven’t yet explored those particular hypotheticals,” it means, “We have no idea how to answer your question.”
“There could be a nuance in the legalities” means “You could probably get away with it.”
If you hear a colleague claim, “I’ll try to get back to the office later today, but I’m not sure how long this meeting will run,” what they really mean is, “See you tomorrow!”
When Fairway says it’s having a BIG sale, it usually means it’s only slightly more expensive than anywhere else.”
What else do Upper West Siders and others say when they mean something else? Have fun with it in the comments!