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Archive for the ‘Super Superlative’ Category

SUPER SUPERLATIVE

by Ruth Minshull

I listen to a local radio host who often precedes a break by saying, “We’ll be back in a couple of moments.”

Now, I’d like to know just how long that is.

My dictionary says that a moment is a tiny portion of time.

So, does that mean that a couple of moments are twice as tiny or twice as long?  In any case, how exactly do you halve or double a tiny indefinite portion?

I’m left to ponder why anyone would want to modify an already indeterminate amount?

People also like to improve on superlatives.  I used to know a woman who would say that something was “very excellent.”  The dictionary claims that excellent refers to an item of the highest or finest quality.  When I try to envision anything that is finer than the finest, my head starts to spin.

I think the hair spray makers have carried this “topping the top” thing farther than anybody.  Many years ago, they started out with only one kind of spray.  Then they offered greater and greater degrees of holding power, to which they gave ambiguous names such as “EXTRA HOLD,” “ULTRA HOLD,” “SUPER HOLD” and “MEGA HOLD” (in some order or other).  When they ran out of hefty synonyms, they began showing a number on each canister, starting with “1” (that’s the weakest–and very hard to find) and going on up.  I don’t know what the highest number is right now (INDUSTRIAL STRENGTH HOLD?) but it’s for people who never plan to comb their hair again.  They’ll probably have to saw it off when they’re done with it.

Then, we’ve all heard the commercial that calls its product the “very best.”  Since best means “excelling all others” how much better is the very best?  Maybe these people are in on a secret that the rest of us missed.

Could it be that you can also get bigger than the biggest? more than the most?  Is there something beyond infinity?

If so, then I’d better restate my goals so that they are more perfectly clear.

I would like to have an ultra, super, magna, mega life with the very very most of more than everything–and I want it all in half a moment.

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©2010 by Ruth Minshull

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