I, like most of you , am probably prone to over exaggeration. If I were to say “I am going to kill the kids if they leave a towel on the bathroom floor again” then I think you probably know what I mean and where I am heading with this. Unless of course I am prone to killing children for acts of untidiness – which I am not.
Just to be absolutely clear on that matter – I have not nor will I kill my children for leaving a bit of a mess in the upstairs bathroom.
Equally, as it turns out I did not actually nearly die when filling up my car recently despite me insisting to my wife to the contrary. My life did not flash before my eyes, I was not filled with the urge to hold my sons one last time, and I did not re-evaluate my existence as a consequence of paying £1.20 a litre.
I also had to reconsider whether leaving a chicken in the oven for what was maybe 15 minutes too long last Sunday – resulting in the breasts being a little dry – was in fact the disaster I supposed. Would I classify the lack of moistness as a serious disruption, occurring over a relatively short time, of a community or a society involving widespread human, material, economic or environmental loss and impacts, which exceeds the ability of the affected community or society to cope using its own resources?
Probably not, I just made a little extra gravy.
With the realisation that I am prone to such exaggerations I ask myself whether I will perhaps use more appropriate language in the future.
No, obviously not and I am sure you feel the same.
I will still insist that I very nearly soil myself every time something surprises me and I will continue to insist that the neighbour, who drives so terribly, is indeed as blind as a bat and by that token navigates via sonar. No one ever became excited or intrigued and leaned in with great interest upon being told that they are absolutely going to believe a tale I am about to tell.
There is a joy in exaggeration, a freedom and a licence to share an excitement that is ours and which we simply want others to feel. It helps us express, albeit lazily, the things we feel and lets us get straight to the somewhat more mundane details of the thing we are expressing.