12 November 2014

Executed Like A Military Operation (Really)

I just moved house this week. (Had to. Lease unexpectedly terminated.) And colleagues and friends keep asking me how it went. I've decided on the right thing to say: "It was all executed like a military operation."

The familiar simile (almost an idiom) always seems to be used with favorable connotations of tight organization and swift, flawless execution. But I'm assuming people who have been reading the newspapers over the past twenty years know what military operations are really like.

Chaos and mayhem, quite unlike anything the prior planning had envisaged; enormous expense and economic damage; vast deployments of equipment; a huge cost in wasted human life; and in the aftermath, a wrecked environment necessitating a massive cleanup and recovery operation.

That's roughly what moving house during a teaching semester felt like.
- From a post by Geoffrey K. Pullum at Language Log.