'Touch Base?'
 by Kenneth Frawley

 

Never, never, never, ever use the phrase: ‘touch base!’ For, apart from the reality that the term is annoyingly artificial, it is hugely unclear. Just what, exactly, is the term meant to say? Is it intended as synonym for: ‘Let’s stay in touch?’ If so, then how is the contact to be accomplished? Maybe it means one of the following options:

‘Let's meet at the Starbuck's?’

‘Let's meet at the library!’

‘Send me an email!’

‘Let's do lunch!’

‘I'll phone you!’

50 office-speak

phrases you

love to hate

Well, which is it? Therein lies the problem. The phrase is not specific. It's designed to sound impressive, yet, in all actuality, mean nothing whilst still sounding professional and appeasing to the other party, the perfect non-committal pledge?

In addition, it’s rather weak as some sort of an analogy, or poetic business prose to begin with. Furthermore, such pseudo-sport-metaphors making their way into what should be normal language must stop immediately. Using such faux-conversation is clearly a desperate attempt by the user to impress the listener with their stylistic approach to the English language. Unfortunately, the ploy backfires, letting the confident, language-literate listener know that the user of such folly is desperate to project one's self as a sort of all-knowing, all-wise, philosophical-business-guru, a sort of modern day industry-Socrates, when in reality, nothing could be further from the truth!

In fact, if the users of the term were the uniquely elevated beings they would like others to believe they are they would be inventing their own style of language. Yet, in reality, users of the ersatz-phrase only reveal themselves as the sheep-like followers they are; mindlessly following along with the great flock into whatever kind of nonsensical language fad that comes along.

Even more horrific and embarrassing are the forms of ‘touch base’ that reveal the ignorant user’s misunderstanding of the phrase's use. For example, some users mistakenly alter the phrase to the plural form with:

‘Let’s touch bases!’

Wait! Are professionals supposed to collect bases? If so, how many are appropriate? Yet, in truth, to the astute listener, the actual professional, such phrasing would fill them with disgust, and send immediate shivers down their spine. For the plural form of the phrase is simply revolting, rather too suggestive and vulgar, causing the second party to become protective, and thinking to themselves:

'What? Shove off! I don't have a base. Yet, even if I did, there is no way I'd let you touch my base,

or would I even consider touching our bases together!’

Moreover, using the expression in this fashion immediately removes it from the category of metaphor. For, in baseball, two bases never actually touch; players touch each base individually. Thus, proving the plebian users of this form of the phrase cannot even get the use of this offensive phrase correct, announcing themselves as the complete and utter dolts that they are!

Further misuses of the horrid phrase, such as,

'I called you all together because I wanted to have a ‘touch base’ with you guys.'

have caused concern that the catch phrase now also serves as a so-called clever synonym for the word meeting? So, so very tragic! Don’t look now, but the sky just may be about to fall, as a very real form of Orwell’s newspeak takes hold.