I have two anecdotes that highlight the importance of making sure that you know the meaning of a phrase before you use it. It can lead to disastrous consequences.
The first, and most egregious, happened to a friend of mine. He’s actually a pretty cool guy who knows about things, so it’s somewhat shocking to me that he didn’t know better.
He used to use this phrase as a substitute for kicking ass. He apparently (though never in my presence) used the phrase somewhat regularly. He used it enough that his sister in law started using it as well.
His sister in law is a corporate lawyer for a major (think top 50) company. She was leading a meeting where they were planning a response to a lawsuit. This was an important lawsuit and it was critical that they win it. They planned their strategy, and to make every excited and to go out and, well, kick some corporate ass, she decided to use my friend’s phrase. So, in front, of a meeting full of corporate lawyers, she said that they were going to go out and…um…Donkey Punch the other company.
So, if you don’t know what Donkey Punch means, go to Urban Dictionary. I’ll wait. It’ll be worth it, I promise.
In the corporate meeting, there was stunned silence. Eventually, one of the lawyers pulled the woman aside and explained what it meant. Needless to say, she was horrified. She angrily calls my friend and asks why the fuck would he go around saying that. He had no idea what it meant.
tl;dr A female lawyer told a room full of corporate lawyers that they were going to take on the opposing counsel, have anal sex with them, and then right at the point of orgasm, punch them in the back of the neck so their sphincter will tighten to maximize the orgasm.
Second anecdote was at work. I was working on a very large military program that was widely dispersed across the country. Therefore, we regularly had phone calls that would have a dozen or more people on them spanning multiple states.
We were working on this one project that involved getting this one guy’s data integrated into the content management store that we were providing. I never met the guy, but it was clear that he was somewhere in his 60’s. He would periodically say things that he clearly heard from, I don’t know, maybe his grandchildren, that weren’t quite right but were close enough that you could grab his meaning.
He had a problem because his data was wildly inconsistent. We needed to get it into some semblance of order so that it could be loaded and analyzed correctly. He understood that but said that automation can only take it so far. At some point, the data would have to be manually tweaked.
As he was explaining the process that he was going to go through, he repeatedly explained that he’d have to…give the data a hand job.
There were people dialed in from several different cubicles in my area. After the first usage of said phrase, everyone popped up like prairie dogs just so that we could look at each other and ask, did he just say that. After he said it two or three more times, the answer was very definitely yes.
tl;dr I’m on a multi-billion dollar military program and someone is apparently going to masturbate their data to fix it.
Please, old people, don’t use slang unless you really, really, really know the meaning of it. Young people already think we’re decrepit, incompetent, and senile.
Don’t feed that fire!