It’s tough to tell sometimes whether the English language itself is dumb, or if it’s just the people using it who are dumb, but either way, dumb things are said all the time that apparently go totally unnoticed by everyone but me. This is going to be a regularly recurring column because these kinds of things pop into my head with some frequency. Perhaps it would be better suited for Twitter or some other medium, but whatever. It’s going to live here for now.
Attorneys at Law
You’ve seen this phrase on ads printed on the backs giant phone books and on even gianter billboards, but I bet none of you have ever stopped to think about how dumb it is. Look at it again: “attorneys at law.” It seems pretty innocuous. But hidden below its friendly exterior is a raging redundancy monster. Don’t see it yet? Have you ever heard of an attorney who wasn’t at law? How about an attorney at medicine? Or an attorney at construction? There’s no such thing. You can’t be an attorney if you’re not at law.
This is a verb, apparently. Bill Macatee, the esteemed golf broadcaster, whipped out his thesaurus in preparation for the Masters last week and found this word, which he decided to use every single time he wanted to describe a path taken by a golf ball. Golf, of course, is far too sophisticated for such lowly verbs as “roll” (e.g., The ball rolled off the green.) or even “go” (e.g., The ball went in the hole.), and Bill took it upon himself to spruce up the telecast. I don’t think it worked. “Trundle” sounds to me like something Santa’s sleigh would do, and a golf ball kind of looks like a snow ball, and all of a sudden I’m thinking about how awesome that snow fort was that I built at Justin’s house in fourth grade and how his little sister made us look really stupid by just running around the yard to attack us from the unprotected side of the fort which doesn’t seem fair at all even though it was two against one and what were we talking about again?