My Exaggeration

slicer.png“Where’s the apple slicer?”

It was a simple question, but it only seemed so.

Nothing around here is simple and behind even the most bland domestic utterance, lurks the specter of a potential squabble and who can resist that?

“What do you mean ‘the’?”


“You said ‘the’.”

She looked confused. “I still don’t get it.”

“The word ‘the’ implies a specific apple slicer, we have seven of them. Which one is ‘the’ one?”

“We don’t have seven.”

“We do.”

“Why do you always exaggerate?”

I do exaggerate and I am not sure why. Perhaps I find that life lacks flair and therefore can’t resist the urge to add a little color, so I exaggerate.

Maybe it is not life that lacks color, rather it is me and my aging eyes that fails to see the vibrancy that I once saw as a child, so I make up for it with words.

Without magic, life is to be endured, not lived and I prefer things lively.

It drives my wife nuts.

By nature, she is not prone to exaggeration. By profession, she is even less so. She is an accountant and there is something about accountancy that demands literalness almost to the point of pain.

I once worked with a gentleman who was so literal that he drove everyone to distraction. One day, a colleague who was struggling to get a clear, unqualified description out of him, pointed out the window and in pure exasperation asked, “See that tree out there? What color is it?”

“Green…,” the accountant replied, but then he stopped to reconsider.

“On this side,” he added.

While his world is most certainly accurate, it lacks magic.

And maybe that explains a few things, because there is so much in life that sucks the magic out of living.

Sometimes I think life itself does that.

I blame it on familiarity.  It is the corrosive force that can erode the miraculous until it is duller than ditch water.

The only antidote is to keep the magic alive by playing little tricks of imagination.

It is one reason my wife keeps me around.

“So you think I am exaggerating,” I say.

“I do,” she says.

I reach into the junk drawer and draw out an apple slicer. I find two more in the utensil drawer and one hiding behind the blender. Another is found among the pots and pans and yet another is lurking among the sandwich bags and aluminum foil.

“One.. two.. three.. four.. five.. six..” she counts. “You said seven. See? You exaggerated.”

“I guess I did.”

“You ALWAYS do.”

“Not always.”


Author: Almost Iowa

46 thoughts on “My Exaggeration”

  1. To keep life from sucking the magic out of everyday living, one needs to either borrow a child, and law enforcement frowns on that, or look through the eyes of a child. There is always magic for them. 🙂 Love the slicer example.

  2. You’re not exaggerating. You’re allowing your nature as a writer to come to the fore while you engage in hyperbole: “a figure of speech that involves exaggeration for the sake of emphasis. It is a device often employed in day-to-day speech: an unreal exaggeration to emphasize the real situation.” Telling that to your wife probably won’t end the discussion, but it might slow it down a bit.

    I laughed at the accountant and the tree.There was a great example of the same dynamic in the news this week. When the Clemson team came to the White House, President Trump made a comment like, “The hamburgers were stacked a mile high.” Someone from either WaPo or the NYT actually fact-checked that, measuring the height of a single burger, multiplying by however many, and concluding, “NOT TRUE that it was a mile high.” I was greatly amused by their inability to distinguish a statement of fact from a figure of speech — and now I’m amused again by this great post about the same dynamic.

    1. The example of the fact checking was hilarious. What’s that saying about Trump? The press takes him literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, but not literally.

      To truly understand our culture, one needs to contemplate the Federal Trade Commission’s rules on advertising. For example, you can say that your coffee tastes the best, but you cannot say that everyone loves it. Try parsing that without getting a headache.

      There is another purpose for exaggeration that I address in my About Page. If I admit that everything I say is fiction or an exaggeration, no one can pin me down.

    1. Occasionally – but she is addicted to them.

      I must say though, three years ago, I planted two apple trees and they are the best apples in the world, no lie, no exaggeration. 🙂 🙂

  3. Him: No wonder you can’t sleep. You are on the computer every night right up until you go to bed.
    Me: I am not. I always put it away at least 2 hours before bedtime.
    Him: You know your phone is a computer, right?
    Me: Of course I know that. And I also know that you exaggerate!
    Must be a guy thing.

  4. And just how big was the bear that stood on top of me at 4 am? There are times when a little exaggeration is in order. And who would deny me. Still, in this case, size really doesn’t matter. I was the one that got away. –Curt

    1. My favorite exaggerations are the fables of Pecos Pete, Paul Bunyan and their ilk. One Paul Bunyan tale goes that one Minnesota winter it got so cold that the flame in the fireplace froze solid. The lumberjacks didn’t know what to do with the frozen flame so they tossed it into the warehouse. In spring, the flame thawed and burned down the warehouse. Now, who would have thought that would happen?

  5. I exaggerate too. I can’t help it. Mine are always catchable though. Like, “I must have said it one hundred times if I said it once….” My wife jumps in and says, “You said it once.” End of story.

  6. I LOVE exaggerating lol. But wow you came close! We have no apple slicers. I kept cutting my thumb on them! (that’s an exaggeration. I only did once – but it was a bad cut so that was enough).

    1. (add your favorite)
      See, you said you don’t ALWAYS do that – but you just did it.
      Uh, when is the last time I did it?
      See, that’s what you always say after you always do it.

  7. Hysterical. Thanks for the chuckle, it felt very close to home. I live with an exaggerator and at time, have told the fish tale myself. Makes for some whopping tales.

    1. Myself, I don’t live with an exaggerator. I live with some who is ALWAYS so literal about ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING.

      Uh, she says that she doesn’t have to exaggerate because I do enough for the both of us…

  8. This might have ‘gone over’ better:

    Almost Iowa: “There’s one thing I can say that is never an exaggeration.”
    She: “What?”
    Almost Iowa: “I love you.”

    1. As much as I am tempted to go down that route, I have to be very careful.

      Almost Iowa: “I love you.”
      She: “How much?”
      Almost Iowa: “A whole bunch.”
      She: “Prove it.”
      Almost Iowa: “What chore are you thinking of?”


      🙂 🙂 🙂

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