Notebook

Hyperbole

I am on a journey. Before departure, an email from the airline warbled, ‘We look forward enormously to welcoming you onboard’. Enormously? The affirmation contrasted with the flight attendants’ weary gestures. The receipt from the airport hotel told me, ‘We hope you had an amazing stay’. Even a bottle of fruit juice in the departure lounge is rich in aspiration: ‘You are special! Treat yourself kindly!’ I find all this wearying.

Why do we revel in automatically generated assurances that we, like every one else who spends money in the furtherance of a particular enterprise, are uniquely wonderful? Why do we put up with this overwrought rhetoric? It is time to reaffirm the nobility of the ordinary. That, after all, is what life mostly consists of. It would be a shame to miss out on it.