Sometimes I imagine little cartoon bubbles over people’s heads when they’re speaking. The bubbles indicate what they’re really thinking and feeling—the gritty subtext of their seemingly innocuous statements. Here are four statements I hear a lot, and my translations of what they really mean:

“With all due respect…”

–         A favorite for commentators and “experts” duking it out on political talk shows.

Translation: I’m about to tell you why you’re an idiot for daring to voice such a misguided opinion.

“It’s too early to talk about that”

–         A popular phrase for politicians.

Translation: We’ll address that when hell freezes over, or the special interests stop donating to my campaign.

“I’m not prejudiced, but…”

–         A well-worn prelude to any outrageously offensive racist, sexist, or homophobic comment.

Translation: I can say whatever I feel like about “those people” since I’ve made it clear I’m not prejudiced.

“The bottom line is…”

–         Go-to for attorneys who don’t want to give a “yes” or “no” comment about whether they believe the 242 accusations leveled against their client.

Translation: I can’t admit my client is a sleaze ball because he’s paying me top dollar to defend his sorry ass.

I’d love to know what you think about my list. Do you agree or disagree? Any phrases you suggest adding to my list? I’m always up for adding to my collection!

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