When you can reach out and impress, why just call?

This covers absolutely nothing of importance, but it struck me in conversation today. I was the victim of a needless buzzword.

“Reach out” is useless verbiage. It means the same as “call” or “contact” or “get in touch with” or whatever, but it sounds like it’s a “sincere” version of all that stuff I just named.

Reach out? It sounds like we needed the helping hand so they graciously “reached out” and saved the day.

I would think the opposite action to “reach out” would be to “reach in.” You could “reach in” and “pull our butts out of trouble.” If so, those are buzzwords that would at least have some meaning.

“Reaching out” has infiltrated into our office. I asked one of the guys to give another guy a call:

“Sure, I’ll reach out. I need to reach out to a couple of other people while I’m at it.”

Why can’t you just say “call?” It uses fewer syllables. What ever happened to the K.I.S.S. rule?

Here’s a Wikipedia definition of “Buzzwords”:

“A buzzword (also fashion word and vogue word) is a vague idiom, usually a neologism, that is common to managerial, technical, administrative and political work environments. Although meant to impress the listener with the speaker’s pretense to knowledge, buzzwords render sentences opaque, difficult to understand and questionable, because the buzzword does not mean what it denominates, yet does mean other things it ought not mean.”

Okay, key points to the buzzword definition were: “vague” and “meant to impress.” Nothing in the definition mentioned words or phrases such as “necessary,” “vital” or “abolish the designated-hitter rule.”

This is a valid point because those two guys Idiom and Neologism said so.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about not adding new words. After all, we’re changing.

Flatulence, the Greek God of Wind, said it best: “With change shall come a bunch of new words.”

Some words and phrases — ones we don’t need anymore — can be easily discarded. They include “gas wars,” “typewriter repair” and “tax cut.”

20 comments Add your comment

The Voice

June 8th, 2009
3:43 pm

Hey Steve…maybe you could comment on this. I noted that the Sandy Springs PD is looking into a house being rolled and a swastika being spray painted on a tree. Investigation into a hate crime. What the hell is a hate crime….are not all crimes hate crimes….you don’t commit a crime against someone because you like them. What a country


June 8th, 2009
5:56 pm

When I absolutely must ask a question via email at work, I phrase it so I get a simple “yes” or “no” answer. Without fail, I get paragraphs from this same guy every time…and the question is never answered on the first go round.

Lt. Steve

June 8th, 2009
9:33 pm

Investigating it as a vandalism. Determination if or not it’s a bias catagory is determined once we find out more. I’m not sure what determines it. I’m the PIO meaning I don’t know anything but I’m good at asking. In this case, I got a lot of different answers.


June 9th, 2009
7:45 am

Lt. Steve,
The older you get the more useless stupidity you will notice in the world. It has always been there, but it becomes more apparent as you get older. I’ve been part of it, you’ve been part of it, but now we get to observe what our parents did. How did they put up with us? How will we put up with the current generation? Much patience and humility is required.


June 9th, 2009
9:35 am

Not all crimes are hate crimes, sometimes it’s just business.

Turd Ferguson

June 9th, 2009
10:32 am

Reach out is just another silly, childish “feel good” term.
“Hate Crime” was developed by the black community in order to prosecute for a person supposedly commiting a crime based singularly on racism. Seemed like a good idea until some black defendants began getting slapped with “hate crimes” then Jesse, Al and USELESS LOWERY, of course, thought differently.


June 9th, 2009
12:00 pm

Lt. Steve-Here is another phrase you need to write about..”No Problem”. Whatever happened to You’re Welcome? If I get “No Problem” as a response to my thank you in any job situation, I immediately come back with, “Of course it is no problem, it is your job!!!” There again, it takes more sylables to say no problem than thank you. So I think you could certainly pursue this phrase further.


June 9th, 2009
3:31 pm

“Reach out” is painful but the mouth-breathers at my office are now addictied to “Please advise”

I want to give them all a gook punch in the throat.


June 9th, 2009
3:32 pm

make that – good punch…



June 9th, 2009
6:49 pm

Isn’t the prosecution of a “hate crime” the same as prosecuting someone’s thoughts? We will punish them for the murder, and punish them even more because of the thoughts they had at the time of the murder? Sounds a little fishy…has anyone ever challenged the Constitutionality of hate crime laws?


June 10th, 2009
9:07 am

Who are we trying to impress with all of these new “buzzwords?” Whatever happened to just “telling it like it is?” or “stating the facts?”
I wonder if everyone used their creative talents and obvious time on their hands towards solving the world’s challenges instead of creating buzzwords, what would happen. Maybe that’s why I like New Yorkers. They tell you exactly what they think, not filling their sentences with fluffy stuff and buzzwords.


June 10th, 2009
10:19 am

No, prosecuting someone for commiting a “hate crime” is not the same thing as prosecuting someone’s thoughts. They are being prosecuted for ACTING ON THOSE THOUGHTS. Big difference.


June 10th, 2009
12:38 pm

I used to have the same problem that fk has. When I first joined the company I’ve been with for over seven years, I never got a straight answer to a question I had. I would ask if I need to do this or that, or how to do this or that, and they would give a long, drawn-out explanation about how we should do something if it’s one thing or another, instead of getting straight to the point with a simple “yes” or “no”, or being more direct with how a task should be performed.

party pooper

June 10th, 2009
4:07 pm

you guys must have been asking my wife questions at work


June 12th, 2009
12:23 pm

Angela: “Telling it like it is” is an admirable trait. Unfortunately, it went out the window along with common sense a long time ago when the dumb masses decided they needed everything sugar coated and politically correct. Absorbing the truth even in it’s simplest form somehow became a tabu.

Lt. Steve: I’m with you sir. I haven’t hear the term reach out around my social group yet(Although I hang out with a bunch of 30+ people so I may not) and none of them have used that buzz word yet. I imagine if I spend some time around my younger sister and her crowd though I’ll probably hear it more than I would like. The other thing I’ll say Steve is you can’t really apply logic to a buzz word like you did with “reach in.” It kind of falls under “why do we drive on a parkway and park on a driveway?” Regardless, I am a firm believer in the K.I.S.S. rule and would much prefer someone to say “call” as well.


June 12th, 2009
3:33 pm

How do yo kill anyone without hating them


June 12th, 2009
3:58 pm

No designating something a hate crime is prosecuting the thought. Prosecuting the act would be going to jail for murder, adding 10 years because of a bad thought (or the perception of one) is prosecuting the thought. Judges often have the discretion to shorten or legthen a sentence based on the perceived viciousness or callousness of the crime. Legislating “hate” crimes is simply a way for the pols to pander to a certain demographic.


June 14th, 2009
10:44 am

Instead of fighting it (buzz words), have a little fun with it.

Before your next meeting, get everybody to ante up $1 and select the total number of buzz words they think will be said. The person closest to the actual number gets the pot. You can call it, “Buzz Word Bingo.”

Just be sure to remind everybody not to stand up and yell “BINGO!!!” when they win and not be too obvious with counting the buzz words when they are spoken.

Other than that, y’all have fun but be careful, good jobs are hard to find…


June 17th, 2009
12:44 pm

Thank you for your comments about “reach out.” I’ve come to almost hate that phrase. It’s so totally unnecessary. Maybe next time I hear it, I’ll actually reach out … my arm & hand, that is. Rather like, “you know?” I really do want to respond, “No, I don’t know. Why don’t you tell me?”

Buzzwords just get in the way of authentic conversation.


July 8th, 2009
4:35 am

I dreampt I bought my highschool teacher some boots at the store. I’d impressed him, and made him happy, despite his having a girlfriend. ( and her dirty looks) I dream of him often- seeing him- I always favored him in school, he’s older than me- I have never tried to contact him- what’s going on?