November 22, 2010
The Things We Exaggerate
A heart doesn’t literally “break” into two pieces. It doesn’t take “forever” to do…well…anything. Whenever we use superlatives, we’re usually wrong.
As a tennis instructor, I often tell my students to exaggerate certain movements, either slow them down to glacial speeds so every detail can be analyzed, or to overdo certain movements to get rid of bad habits or inertia. There are some forms of exaggeration that are even considered therapeutic.
But notice that we usually exaggerate on things that are considered either trivial or things that are not quantifiable. “I love you more than anything else in the world” or “I’m so hungry I could eat a horse” or “It’s cold as hell.”
We could never get away with exaggerating sales numbers or the distance between two points.
There is definitely a divide between things that we can exaggerate and things we cannot.
Somehow I think that this division is really important. And somehow I think the things on one side of this divide are more important to us than the other.
In fact, I think that the things on that one side of the divide are more important than anything else in the world.