Aware of the danger of expressing negative comments
about someone in a testimonial, a director wrote of a
former worker who had constantly skived off, "A man
like him is hard to find."
A husband and wife went to consult a marriage
guidance counsellor. "In our six years of marriage," the
husband complained, we have not been able to agree
about anything." "It has been seven years," the wife
Chic Murray told how one night, having rung the bell of
a small Bed and Breakfast on the Ayrshire Coast, a lady
appeared at the upstairs window. "What do you want?"
she asked. When Chic replied, "I would like to stay
here," she replied, "Well stay there," and banged the
The story goes that
when one loyal member of the Tartan Army was job-hunting,
in reply to the interviewer's question, "What's
your ultimate goal?" he replied, "Archie Gemmell's goal
against Holland in the World Cup." His answer was
probably the reason he did not get the job.
A driver who had been involved in an accident gave
the impression in a letter to his insurance company
that he had three eyes. "I had one eye on a parked car,
another on an approaching lorry and another on the
woman driver behind."
Another driver wrote, "I collided with a stationary
truck coming the other way. The guy was all over the
road. I had to swerve a number of times before I hit
Euphemisms have unfortunately become part of
the political spin-doctor's armoury. For centuries,
euphemisms have been used to screen the most awful
realities. When, in Shakespeare's play, Macbeth informs
his wife that Duncan is about to visit their castle, she
immediately responds: "He that is coming must be
provided for." It sounds so considerate, but what it
really means is cold-blooded, premeditated murder,
cutting the king's throat while he sleeps. Pleasant words
can mask very evil actions.
What a genius Shakespeare had for words. He made
the first recorded use of hundreds of what are now
everyday words -- accommodation, assassination,
obscene, pre-meditated, frugal, dwindle, leapfrog and
barefaced, to mention only a few. He was also the
source of many common phrases -- one fell swoop, play
fast and loose, brevity is the soul of wit, salad days, knit
your brows, the milk of human kindness, method in his
madness, being cruel to be kind, wild goose chase,
wearing one's heart on one's sleeve.
Are we the cruellest of all animals? We beat eggs. We
whip cream. We strike bargains. We kill with a look. We
blind others to the truth, and all the while we are just
trying to kill time.