Festina Lente!


Welcome to the world of oxymorons and more.

I wanted to dedicate a post to this literary invention of man, without which it sometimes becomes difficult to accentuate scenes, situations and context and also add some good old humor while we are at it.

The dictionary meaning for oxymoron indicates “sharp/pointed” and “dullness / foolishness” – a sharp dullness or pointed foolishness. This also indicates that the word oxymoron in itself is an oxymoron!

Let’s see, what are the most common ones you would come across normally?

Open secret, original copy, final draft, only choice, clearly misunderstood, deafening silence, exact estimate, recorded live, unbiased opinion, little too much and so on

Can you imagine a life without oxymorons (or any moron for that matter)? Like morons add a little bit of humor, suspense and sometimes shock / surprise in our lives, so do Oxymorons.

Picture this – you were asked by your boss to print out and hand over the original copy of the final draft. What would you normally do then?

Run for the door most probably or maybe grab a baseball bat (I would recommend the latter only when you are sure no one else is around and the security cameras are under maintenance) 😉

That’s what life is all about. Understanding Oxymorons may just save your day (as seen above).

So what does it normally mean when you hear these words:-


Sample Usage: The database administrator password is an open secret nowadays.

What it means: Everybody knows about this now. Like the DBA guarding the administrator password like the Holy Grail, but everyone from the receptionist to the security team probably has a copy of the same, just in case 😉

ORIGINAL COPY (This is a tough one. What the $%#@ can this possibly mean?)

Sample Usage: Get me the original copy of this document!

Somebody has written something (the “Original”) sometime back, and it may have undergone ‘n’ version changes, and now that very same old (or long forgotten) thing needs to be brought back to life (the “Copy” of that “Original”) for whatever / no reason. So there.

FINAL DRAFT (Ok, I thought I had solved the most cryptic of puzzles and here comes another!)

Sample Usage: Please find the final draft of the presentation you requested.

What it means: Somebody is very careful (or smart or both) and wants to CYA himself. The deliverable would always be circulated as Final Draft, which means this could be on a best or a worst endeavor basis. If it passes off as OK, then consider yourselves lucky, if not, WTF, tough luck, there was just not enough time J

ONLY CHOICE (Probably the easiest of all to explain)

Sample Usage: This is your only choice if you want to succeed / meet the timelines.

What it means: (if you hear this phrase) You are screwed.


Sample Usage: You have clearly misunderstood the requirements / specifications / expectations / whatever

What it means: Don’t bother. Once you hear this, its apology / suck up time.


Sample Usage: There was deafening silence in the room once the bonus checks (or letters) were handed out.

What it means: You will know the next time, if you have not experienced it already.


Sample Usage: I want the exact estimate for this upgrade.

What it means: There is a dork on the loose. Handle situation with care. Call for help if needed.


Sample Usage: I want your unbiased opinion for my performance review / presentation / suggestion

What it means: You are treading on thin ice. Be careful whenever you hear this. What it actually means is “Tell me the truth and be prepared to handle whatever happens next”. Listener disretion advised.

MAKE HASTE SLOWLY (this is one of my favorites, though seldom used nowadays)

Sample Usage: Make Haste Slowly

What it means: Do not screw up. Take your time, get the job done in style and in all surety.

Till later then.


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