Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Why No One Talks About Moderation Around Me

I've always hated the phrase "everything in moderation." Partly because it's a dumb sentence - and hardly that, it's actually a sentence fragment. (Also, people are always compelled to move their hands across their face slowly while saying it.)

Mostly, I dislike it because it is just the type of speech pattern that bugs me the most: saying something that is almost entirely the opposite of what you really mean but expecting everything to follow along.

Someone says they don't drink. Another person says they drink too much. The armchair philosopher makes a gesture and utters, "everything in moderation" in a slow voice and walks off - certain they have solved the issue.

But it doesn't make sense. Do you really mean that? Should I huff gasoline in moderation? Or drive into mailboxes once a week? Should I pray in moderation? Love my wife in moderation?

No, what the person means is "drink a little alcohol if you like but don't get drunk." The phrase is almost exclusively used for the discussion of alcohol and nothing else, yet people say everything in moderation and expect me to understand that the word everything only refers to one thing. (The most foolish, when confronted, say something brilliant, like "isn't that in the Bible somewhere?" Even Yahoo can answer that.)

"We're killing tonshured monks in moderation, today, so two of you can leave!"
(Actually, someone should have mentioned moderation to him when he put on those hammer pants.)

Furthermore, the person who says this while fancying themselves to be a philosopher is apparently not accustomed to thinking things through. Obviously, a person cannot do everything in moderation because that would lead to excessive moderation - thus the premise defeats itself, proving that colloquial sentence fragments do not construct solid world views.

But, whenever I mention this to people they always get quiet and leave. I don't know why. Maybe they are going to tell someone in the next room that "cleanliness is next to Godliness".


  1. Excellent post. I laughed out loud at "hammer pants."

  2. That last comment was too long. I'll moderate by eliminating some of the words. It should read "Hey, you should use moderation!"

  3. Sentence fragments are okay in moderation. ;)

  4. It reminds me of that quote man by the great thinker Dave Barry:

    "I argue very well. Ask any of my remaining friends. I can win an argument on any topic, against any opponent. People know this, and steer clear of me at parties. Often, as a sign of their great respect, they don't even invite me."

  5. That's funny, I hadn't heard that one of Dave Berry's. Yeah, out of "respect" a lot of people don't talk to me...