The other day, in the midst of a normal conversation, I heard the word “transition” – as a verb – come out of my own mouth.
The Earth twisted beneath me for a moment, and I sensed I had crossed a troubling threshold. Was I becoming one of the pod people? These are the early adopters of new-sounding words and phrases and abusers of perfectly good older words. Like “transition,” which is a noun.
In other words, the people I have mercilessly ridiculed in this very space. Was I becoming one of them? Seems as if the universe is getting its cold and inevitable revenge.
Granted, being a scold is not life’s highest calling, and standing on the shore ordering the waves not to come in is so foolish that it’s really not even entertaining for those standing by and shaking their heads.
It’s too bad, because I recently found myself in another setting where the jargon was flying and others were nodding along as if the speaker was making sense. That only encourages them, you know.
As I endured the babbling and the nodding, I broke out into a cold sweat. My mind groped for a way to push back.
I’ve got it. What about an app for our Endless Entertainment Devices, commonly known as cell phones? That’s how the droids are going to get us, you know, with endless Sudoku, chess and grand-master level Words with Friends. Our brains turn to mush, and the cybers take over.
I might as well join them. I was thinking of Jargon Bingo. Next time you’re in a staff meeting, open the app and start clicking them off as you hear about stakeholders, strategic frameworks, action plans, integrated platforms, silos, buckets and skill sets. Double credit for a “public-facing web-based dashboard.”
And the verbs. The glorious verbs. Leverage, effort, partner, transition and, let us not forget, innovate.
Of course there’s a separate version for sports – $3.99 at the App Store.
Laugh if you wish, but if this sucker takes off, I want to be paid in Bitcoin. I’ll be on an island that appears on no maps, deliriously counting my fake money and ordering the waves not to come in.
The Webster’s New World College Dictionary is a good friend. It has sat within ready reach every day I have been in this goofy business of newspapering. It lists three definitions for our little noun “transition,” including a musical one: “a shifting from one key to another; modulation.”
Then, ever so briefly, it lists the word as a verb. So I guess I’m in the clear. But alas, dear Webster’s, it feels as if I’ve lost a trusted friend.
– Follow Jeff Fox on Twitter: @FoxEJC