Thursday, August 9, 2007

Can I be honest with you?

I just had a co-worker come into my office.

"Can I be honest with you....?" He asked. What followed those five words is irrelevant and I would probably be breaching some sort of rules about revealing workplace conversations. One of the most important traits of a successful "life coach" is being able to keep secrets (note: I'm not really a life coach. I have a real job). Anyways, back to my original story. Is there any worse way to start a sentence? You immediately know that person is going to say something that insults you, brags about themselves or both. The only exception was a sales guy I used to work with who started every sentence with a grand set-up ("I'm going to be honest with you", or "Not a word of a lie") but finished with something completely innocuous. Example: "Not a word of a lie, I had breakfast this morning). Every thing he said was a complete letdown. He'd build it up and then finish with a thud. He was the 1987 Jays of conversationalists.

So this guy (the guy who came into my office this morning not the big start, no finish guy) may or may not have had something wonderful to say but it didn't matter. He had already put me in a mood that I wanted the conversation to end. Point being, don't start a conversation with "can I be honest with you?". In keeping with that topic here's a short list of sentence beginnings that indicate bad news/generally something you don't want to listen to is on it's way.

"I was watching Jim Cramer last night and..."
"A Russian-built aircraft..." (probably could substitute Russian-built anything)
"Can I speak with you..."
"I'm Rachel Ray..."
"Remember when you said you'd..."

On an unrelated note, here is a list of songs that my cranky daughter seemed to like.

1. Tall Grass. Favourite Sons
2. Three Seed. Silversun Pickups
2. There Goes the Fear. Doves
3. Ignition (the remix). R. Kelly

The latter two are in heavy rotation usually but the first two I had mostly overlooked. They shouldn't be as they're great tracks. My one month year-old daughter apparently has better music taste than 98% of North Americans...and she can walk.

Speaking of R. Kelly. I believe NBC's decision to have him follow Mark Philippoussis as the star of next summer's "Age of Love" is completely inappropriate. Shame on you, network execs, shame on you.

Afterword (8/15/07): Here's another one to add to the list of terrible sentence beginnings: "I'm the farthest thing from a racist but...". Chances are they are not as "far" as they had previously advertised.

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