metrocentric: (Default)
In office discourse one encounters an awful lot of cliches, which can be sectoral, or shared in common with many other workplaces of like character. This use of metaphor and similie seeks to ease the passage of the banal, but is as much likely to be a means of expressing belonging and accordance with one's fellow creatures in the burrow. My own organisation has practically colonised use of the phrase 'Going Forward' (to describe activity taking place from a point somewhere around nowish to some time in the future). That term originated, in this incarnation, in football (or soccerball, or whatever you want to call it), to describe either the movement of the team in possession of the ball towards or into the opposing team's half of the field, or more specifically that of a player normally in a defensive position taking on a role that sees him moving beyond that position to some effect. Alien terms such as 'ballparks' and 'plates' (for 'stepping up to') occasionally creep in and are hereabouts considered vulgar among the sensitive - however this being an office there is a mix of both vulgar and sensitive and the former predominate.

The most distressing aspect of these cliches is that, like any language one is ambiently exposed to, there's such a temptation to use them. Best to invent your own, but after a lengthy afternoon of doing little but try the best I can manage is 'Squeezing the Puppy'. This refers generically to those actions or utterances that are difficult to resist but damaging when permitted: all the examples of this that come to mind are offensive so I shan't give them here. The term originates of course in the sensation of holding or supporting a puppy in one's ungloved hands.

This not to say that I'm in the habit of squeezing puppies. Anyone who has ever held a puppy in their bare hands will agree that ethically the squeezing thing is a high contrast, monochromatic concept. It is not morally nourishing. Sensual urges are one thing, squeezed puppies another. A young dog, cute, defenceless, possessed of large trusting eyes, downy fur and an unreliable bladder, may invite some excess of pressure between the palms, but go too far and the puppy stays squoze and and cannot be unsqueezed. It swiftly loses some of its functionality as a puppy, and ain't half as tempting to squeeze on future occasions.

Far better to squeeze all one's puppies figuratively, for instance by [deleted as offensive], or [that as well]. I don't think it will catch on as a cliche, nor, I hope, as a practice.


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