Read my lips: 'I don't mean what I say!'

Some of you are old enough to remember George Herbert Walker Bush’s famous words, “Read my lips: no new taxes.” Well, he was forced to eat his own words later on. I imagine that Mr. Bush meant what he said when he said it. But how many times do people say words to us that have no connection to their meaning? Worse yet: how many times do those words mean exactly the opposite of what their real meaning is?

Here is a first crack at a list of these accidents of Linguistics and character. Obviously, I am exaggerating a bit, but I hope you will appreciate the humor.

1. “We need to get together.” Translation: Let’ s make this chance meeting as short as possible, both of us know we don’t intend to get together.

2. “Just kidding.” I really meant what i said, but when I saw your reaction, I decided to lie and retreat into the safe zone of the teasing world. “Just kidding” covers a multitude of sins!

3. “I will pray for you.” Translation: It’s getting late and I have heard enough of your lamentations. You won’t mind if I just skip the rest and take it up with the Almighty, do you?

4.“I promise…” Normally said when trying to reassure the person that you’re telling the truth. Translation: “I am saying I promise so you won’t go around investigating whether this is really what I said or did. You should just take my word for it even if it’ s not true.

5. Voice message: “I’m really sorry I missed your call…” Translation: Not really, but since I am not here, I can say whatever I want, as long as I don’t have to put up with your demands, complaints, whining, or whatever also you wanted to talk about to ruin my day.

‎6. Voice message: “Your call is important to me…” Translation: So important I chose to sit here and listen to you leaving a message instead of picking up the phone to prove to you that your call was important to me!

7. Husband: “I will be home shortly…” Wife: “I will just pick up a few things at the store…”

8. ‎”Sorry I’m late, I got detained…” Translation:… By my own inability to get up from bed early enough and put one foot in front of the other…

9. “I just picked up a little something for you…” Translation: Yup, picked up from my basement, more specifically from the bag marked “re-gift this year.”

10. ‎”Don’t tell anyone.” Translation: I’m dying for you to tell everybody and their brother about how so and so did this and that…

11. “I don’t want to put you on the spot…” Translation: I just did; can’t wait to see how you are gonna get out of this one!

12. Ex-wife: “Nice running into you here…” “Too bad I’m not driving my car!”

Time to remember the words of Jesus: “But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil.” (Matthew 5:37).

Ivanildo C. Trindade