The Best of Both Worlds

Since Umsholozi got his machine gun back on Saturday I have been thinking a lot about the power of exaggeration. No, it was not something borne out of Libyan leader Muammar Gadaffi’s excessive indulgence or Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe’s old Mercedes Benz. It was something sourced from bad use of language. I ended up coming up with phrases like the ones below and trying to understand what they actually mean.

1. “It doesn’t get any better than this” – It means what has just happened is a barometer and that the person who uses this phrase knows it all. First time cannabis smokers experience a high that any other puffing will never fade. So, the first time you puff, remember that it don’t get no better than that.
2. “They don’t make them like they used to” – that’s braggadocio and a veiled threat. You have heard people reading bad press and commenting that they don’t make journalists like they used to, same with soccer players. We say they don’t make soccer players like they used to when they were making Pele, Maradona and Jomo Sono.
3. “World class” – what does it mean? It means a Mercedes Benz, a Gulfstream jet. Simply it means that whatever is on offer is of a class that it’s got no competition or class of its own in the world.
4. “State of the arts” – in ghetto lingo they call it ‘last number’. It’s the latest gadget out there in the markets and there’s nothing after it – more like the interactive flat screen 200 centimeter high definition wireless television.
5. “Third generation” – this is what is not yet on the mass market. Like that Pentium 12 which is used in some military institutions. It’s said to be third generation because it’s ahead of its time.
6. “Internationally acclaimed” – it means having received international recognition and maybe won one or two international awards since awards are the only way to measure reception of anything in the world.
7. “Ontop of the world” – this one comes from the people who have made it a career to climb mountains and plant their country’s flags. They say ‘I’m ontop of the world’ based on beliefs that some peaks are higher than others and some are yardsticks of how high one can fly without wings.
8. “best of both worlds” – this is braggadocio as well since there’s one world and to allege that something is the best of both worlds is actually to say that it appeals both here and in the after-life.
9. ‘greatest of all times” – that is until now. Ray Charles can be the greatest of all time but a time will come when he will be upstaged. Tupac Shakur is still undisputed but one day someone will come and topple him from that high hip hop office.
And you were wondering where I got them? Just listen to any first time rap album and you are likely to get more braggadocios lines in one album than you’ve heard in your whole lifetime.

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