Saturday, March 14, 2015

Generally Speaking

I’m not a big fan of generalities…generally speaking.

I like specifics, no matter what the topic.

You know?

If someone—anyone—has something to say, then they should just say it…good or bad.

As long as I know exactly what it is or where it is you stand…in most cases.

So if I go to a doctor with some sort of complaint, I want to know what the exact diagnosis is and, hopefully, the prognosis.

I don’t want to hear…

 “Yes, you certainly have something, and it may or may not get better. If it gets better, you’ll be fine…like most people. And if it doesn’t…well…you’ll probably be not so fine, but hopefully that will pass…sooner or later, and you’ll be good to go, eventually…unless you’re in the percentage of those who aren’t.”

That’s not at all helpful, let alone specific.

Let’s nail it down, people…nail it down…somewhere!

The problem is, if you do get specific and nail it down, then you’re pretty much locked in to whatever position you’ve taken.

Then if things go south, you have to defend that position and your reasoning—even if you have to make it up—and hopefully create an argument for not clearly understanding exactly what it was you were supposed to be giving your opinion on, probably due to the general nature of the situation.

So people naturally tend to keep things on the vague side, just to avoid getting locked in.

“I never said that about peanuts…I was talking about legumes in general!”

Which I can understand, on some broad level.

But I still like to know just what it is people are talking about, most of the time, if not always….for the most part.

Don’t you?


If I bring my car into the service center I don’t want to hear:

“Yeah…something’s not right…”

“Can it be fixed?”

“For the most part…I’m pretty sure it somebody”



“Have you seen anything like this before?”

“I’ve pretty much seen everything?”

“Well, that’s comforting.”

“Yep...for the most part.”

“So when will it be ready?”

“I’ll get on it as soon as possible. Shouldn’t take any longer than most.”

“Great, that’s a load off my mind.”

“Nothing to worry about…it’s all under control.”

“Thanks for taking the mystery out. Not knowing is the worst part.”

If I hear that at my service station, then I’ll usually buy a bus ticket…one that’s good for a while.

If I meet a politician running for office, I want to know why I should vote for him or her.

“If you vote for me you won’t be sorry!”

“Well, then, why wouldn’t I?”


“But could you be a little more specific?”

“Why, of course. Because I have a plan to do a lot of good things to make things better…much better than the other guy’s plan.”

“And why is that?”

“Because my plan isn’t his plan…which is nowhere near as good as my plan.”

“I see…and how long will it take before your plan starts to show some results.”

“Hard to say…these things can take time to develop and come to fruition…but you can expect to see results…soon...very, very soon.”

‘Well, it’s hard to argue with results, generally speaking.”

“My thoughts exactly!”

I don’t know. Maybe I’m asking too much. Maybe we just live in a general world, at least most of the time.

Specificity is too much to ask.

Even harder to say.

Ambiguity rules the day and for the most part keeps you out of trouble.

Most of the time….

And no one can ever accuse you of not having your facts straight.

Generally speaking….



  1. Yup, you nailed that ... double talk, and mumbo jumbo - you can't get in trouble that way.

  2. This could be a Seinfeld episode or a comic theme for any show currently in production.

    1. Thanks Greg. Nice to see you here. Hope you come back more often. Point in fact, in some cases...almost all sit-coms have actually been based on my life....

  3. Went to England years ago with my mother who was in the habit of asking waiters and waitresses "How is the (fill in the blank) dish?" All over the country the answers she got were, "Might be nice," "Could be nice," and "I couldn't say, actually."

  4. Sound kind of like the responses given by a certain hyper-local on line "news" site....

    1. Not precisely, Brian. The waitresses gave answers.

  5. A point well made and I fully agree with you on some of it. Not that I find any of it disagreeable it’s just that giving one's opinion can put one on the spot. It has been known to solicit inquisitions on why disagreement may have been implied. This can cause frustrating defensive posturing from those that really have no general idea anyway. In general I am just as frustrated as anyone with what has now become a 'fence-sitting' society. Or not.

    1. All, good points, generally. I would pass along some of the more specific ones, but this is a family site....


Retort to the Retort -

“Is there anybody alive out there…”