Friday, July 31, 2020

Talking the Talk... And You Can Quote Me On That

Life has a way of throwing us curve balls, sometimes seemingly more than our fair share. But every once in a while, it gives a little something back. We're often faced with challenging situations that put us in direct conflict with other people, whether we're having a heated discussion with a coworker on how best to tackle an assigned project or forced by our code of honour into a private war with a Colombian drug cartel to rescue our niece. Sometimes, shit happens. Luckily, though, one thing we don't have to worry about is how to respond, because thanks to over a century of filmmaking, we have distilled down all of our wisdom into witty one-liners that we can apply to nearly every conceivable situation. The following five quotes represent a small part of our collective cultural wisdom passed down from generation to generation, father to son, mother to daughter, onward through the ages, that are invaluably useful for a myriad of circumstances in which one might find oneself.

1. "You're going to need a bigger boat."

Often paraphrased as "We're going to need a bigger boat," this iconic line from Jaws is applicable in so many situations particularly because as a moderately intelligent species of hairless ape, human beings are often confronted with challenges that defy our comprehension, at least initially. This is simple shorthand to describe how insurmountable a problem might be with the current available resources,that a regrouping to reassess how best to tackle the situation might be in order. As one might suspect, this is useful input when facing any challenge for which any other initial assessment might not come readily to mind. This is best uttered with sheer awe for how incredibly impossible the task seems at first glace, maybe even with eyebrows raised while glancing at your band of gruff but trusty companions.

2. "That's just, like, your opinion, man."

Sometimes, you need to clearly express to another person that their contribution to the current dialogue is less than helpful, and not based on any sort of logic or rational analysis. When you need to immediately shut down a line of thinking that might otherwise derail a delicate situation, this quote from The Big Lebowski quite definitively lets someone know exactly how much helpful their input into the present situation is, which is not at all. This is the definitive response to let others know exactly how useless or inapplicable their idea actually was. Delivering this line requires some emphasis on the fact that whatever idea is being expressed is, indeed, merely an opinion, and speaking with the reserved disdain really required to get your point across.

3. "You chose... poorly/wisely."

These gems from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade are nearly universally applicable. Essentially, any situation that requires a decision to be made - that is, nearly every situation, ever - can be evaluated on the only scale that ultimately matters - either poor or wise. There is no middle ground here, which makes you sound decisive and confident, two important qualities that can help to deescalate nearly any conflict. This is also a clear way to delineate between people whose decisions you value and those who could fuck up a cup of coffee. This is best spoken slowly and with gravitas to definitively render your verdict on the relative quality of someone's choice.

4. "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

Sometimes, you find yourself engaged with someone who clearly has no idea what in the holy hell they're talking about, maybe even with a full-fledged case of verbal diarrhea. By invoking this bit of wisdom from "The Princess Bride," you can decisively let the offending party - and anyone in the vicinity who might be affected by their random jumble of words - know that you know they don't have a fucking clue what they're saying. The best part is, you don't actually have to know the precise meaning of the misappropriated word or words. But you don't have to. Once everyone else that matters is alerted to the situation, you can then assume control and guide the dialogue to something more constructive. You need to convey this sentiment with equal parts humility and incredulity to maximize the desired effect.

5. "I love this plan! I'm excited to be a part of it! Let's do it!"

Ghostbusters is a classic film with a lot to offer. This quote from Peter Venkman (Bill Murray) can be used to express genuine passion to take part in the plan in question, or with light or heavy doses of sarcasm, to indicate a grudging acceptance to be a part of said plan or complete disdain for said plan, respectively. The great thing about this quote is its versatility in indicating one's level of approval in a specific course of action decided upon by the team one happens to be a part of. The drawback is that even when used with the most biting levels of sarcasm you can muster, you're still likely going along with the plan, so you may need to use one of the above quotes preemptively to avoid being in a situation that is completely antithetical to your actual desired course of action. As previously noted, the amount of sarcasm accompanying this quote will ultimately determine its intent in a given situation.


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