I’ve embarked on yet another verbal quest. This time, I’m focussing on lists. Have you noticed that when asked to give a report on the variety and number of ‘things’ that we have seen or experienced and these are greater in number than we can accurately relate, then we usually attempt to give highlights and then fall back on a vague statement of multiplicity.
Q. How many different items do Mitre 10 hardware stores stock?
A. Well, there’s roofing nails, fuse wire, rubbish bins, house paint – and so on.
Q. How many times have you been disappointed by the Australian Labor Party?
A. Well, they started the HECS scheme, there’s their bulldust uranium policy, their privatisation of formerly public owned utilities, Keating’s hubris, Beazley’s passivity and now Kevin Rudd’s crap about my taxes continuing to go to private schools. You name it.
The set up is always similar. An attempt to enumerate the range of items and then the statement suggesting there is so much more to count that the effort is simply too great.
From this week I’ll be doing the following. When asked any question that would usually elicit a response as above, I intend taking a sharp left turn.
Allow me to demonstrate:
Q. So, is it me or are there a lot of events that make up history?
A. Yep. There’s the Battle of Hastings and the list goes on.
One item, people. Then drop in the “and etc”. It saves time and you will appear to be in command of your subject.
Why should we expend time and energy on an impressionistic account that will always come off as sketchy and makes one appear ignorant or lazy?
One item. And the list goes on.
Elevate the Insignificant,