Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Things You Hear a Million Times

As my postman trudged hesitantly up my unshoveled walkway yesterday, I refrained from yelling out a cheery "Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor dark of night" remark. I think he appreciated that restraint. I'd bet that 50% of his customers say this under such circumstances, and 100% of them consider it terribly clever.

Whichever profession you're in, you have The Things You Hear a Million Times. The repetition can be boring, but what's soul-crushing is how clever people think they're being, each and every time.

The weird thing is that even those
paid to Say Clever Things tend to flock. Chowhound's had tons of press over the years, and about 1/3 of it included some version of the same construction (the following are just a few examples):

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: "The best kasha varnishka, the tastiest lomo de res tacos or the hottest vindaloo curry."

TIME MAGAZINE: "The best gooseneck barnacles. The worst crab-stuffed filet mignon. Well-traveled eaters size up everything from nachos to foie gras."

MONEY: "From White Castle to white tablecloth."

SAVEUR: "From knishes to cassoulet."

NEWSWEEK: "From which Queens street cart sells the best Indian dosas to how to get a reservation at Napa Valley's The French Laundry."

PEOPLE MAGAZINE: "Manhattan's top tacos stand, Texas' most transcendent Thai or Tokyo's best shot at deep-dish pizza."

WALL STREET JOURNAL ONLINE: "Heirloom tomatoes, obscure food cravings, or surviving a meal at a chain restaurant."

ASSOCIATED PRESS: "Spirited conversations about tortillas in Mexico, an Iranian spice called khah shir, the merits of various Korean dumplings."

FORBES: "Top picks for high-end restaurants in Kansas City? Where to get the best coffee at LAX?"

TRAVEL AND LEISURE: "Argue over the best catfish po'boy in D.C., debate the relative merits of different New York egg creams, and trade tips for ordering in Korean restaurants."

TIME OUT: "The city's best lentil soup, veggie franks, eggs Benedict, lox, sangria and more."

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