Prone to hyperbole


By Tinky Ningombam

I recently got duped by a friend (who meant well, I think) and sent me to attend an event which was supposed to be what I was told “the greatest thing ever” .  I should not have believed it the moment I heard it. But I did, my bad. What actually transpired on the fateful event was somehow too mundane that I have now sworn to distrust anyone who claims that they can indeed provide me “the greatest thing ever”.

I do concur that one person’s idea of a great time is completely different from another person’s idea of a great time. For people who have the habit of taking things too literally or even with a creative imagination to predict a situation by its promotion alone, it is a hard place to live in. Everyone exaggerates. We live in a world of constant exaggeration. I hate the fact that people have started to use too much hyperboles. It is like the new fad. You need to be exciting enough that everything you do needs to surpass what happened before till that point of time. So that we urge for the biggest, best, fastest. And they forget where to draw the line.

~A hyperbole is an extreme exaggeration used to make a point. It is like the opposite of “understatement.”   It is from a Greek word meaning “excess.” ~

Hyperboles are mostly used in literature or for humor, or ads. Heard in our daily lives in phrases like … “I am so tired, I can die.”, “You have told me a million times.” ,“I have a hundred things to do in the next 10 minutes.”

I get the little speech drama, that’s ok. You can be as cold as ice or feel as old as a dinosaur.  It is when people actually make you believe in intolerable exaggerations that drive me up the walls. If you have never had coffee from all across the world, you cannot say without obviously lying outright that your wife’s coffee is the best coffee in the world, for you maybe, but not for the entire world. I mean it is as simple as that.

I cannot believe that you had the best time of your life just going shopping with your friend. Your phone cannot be the best phone on the planet, what about your last phone, was it not a good one a year ago? Likewise, you cannot have been to the most awesome party of the decade, nor have had the craziest trip that anyone can ever have. This might hold true for the one person who truly has the best of all the things that I have mentioned, but out of the billions of people partying or going to a trip, how will you know which out of all the great things that we do is the best.

Don’t you hate it when people use the word “best”…the best? Do you know a few of those incorrigible braggarts who say “I had the best birthday party in the world” ? I mean if you come down to that, honestly I would say “Your best birthday party was on the day you were born, I don’t think you can remember that.”

So it all boils down to this. We have always lived a life of comparison. We have competed with people to show off our persona, our lifestyle, our achievements and everything else that we have done under the sun. We have come to a stage where we have the need to express ourselves in superlatives… so we are not just having a good life, but the best possible life of all the lifetimes ever lived on this planet, other planets and the entire universe.  

Somehow everything that we do is tagged “awesome”, “mind-blowing”, “amazing”, “out-of-this world”, “incredible”. Have we not had enough?  And then we run out of words, then somehow some lunatic from somewhere finds a new word like “ fanta-bu-lous” , I mean who comes up with such nonsense in the first place. I do not believe someone who uses the same words to describe everything. Someone who gives their “Super – Awesome-ness tag” to anything and everything. Who says “ That music was super-awesome… That  person was super-awesome… That ice-cream was super-awesome”  Why can’t the music be a good attempt by a mediocre band who accidentally hit the billboard charts because it was a movie soundtrack … Why can’t the ice-cream be a considerably good tasting ice-cream, better than Haagen-daaz  but less expensive ?

I am wasting my beautiful words like “Super-cool”  or “extraordinary”  in describing something as lame as a dog jumping the fence on a Youtube video. I mean if God came down to earth and stood before me, will that not be extraordinary. What word will I use then? What if I break the world-record for longest life on earth, will that not be truly the most incredible thing to happen to me?  Will I have to make a new word to describe the sheer awesomeness of that feat?

(P.S. The author believes that hyperboles are as useful for an advertiser as it is harmful for people coming from a politician. )


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