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Carroll: What they say, and what they mean
A guide to cutting through the bull
David Carroll
David Carroll is a longtime anchorman at WRCB television in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Have you noticed that many people simply do not tell the truth?

In so many cases, people both famous and ordinary do not say what they really mean. The same goes for businesses. As a public service, I would like to list a few of the more common falsehoods, followed by the truth.

When an embattled politician or business owner says, “I am resigning to spend more time with my family,” he really means, “I’m jumping out before I get pushed.” 

Six months later, when the same guy hurriedly accepts the first job offer that comes his way, he says, “It was a difficult decision to make, but after talking it over with my family, we agreed that I should accept this wonderful opportunity.”  What he really means is, “Thank goodness, I’m finally out of the house! I got a job offer!”

When a prospective politician tells the press, “People are urging me to run for office, but I’m still exploring the possibility of a race,” he really means, “I wish some people would urge me to run, and better yet, send some money my way!”

When the company memo says, “He has left the company to pursue other interests,” it often means, “We caught him in the act, and he has probably crossed the state line by now.”

When someone begins their conversation with you by saying, “With all due respect…” you are probably about to get no respect.  Same goes with, “No offense, but. …” You can count on this: You are about to be offended.

Once you reach a certain age (or so I hear), a person you haven’t seen in years will walk up and say, “My goodness, for your age, you sure are looking good!” What they really mean is, “Wow! I had no idea you were still alive.”

When the company memo says, “We are reorganizing to better serve our customers,” it usually means, “We are laying off a huge chunk of employees, and the ones who are still here will have to do twice as much work.”

When the recorded voice on the phone says, “Your call is very important to us; please stay on the line,” it really means, “If you were truly that important to us, a human would be speaking to you now.”

When the receptionist tells you the doctor can see you at 9 a.m. Thursday, it means you’d better pack a lunch, because 13 other people are also scheduled to see him at 9 a.m. Thursday.

When the sign says, “Pain-free dentist,” it is actually true. The dentist won’t feel a thing.

When the waitress hands you the menu and says, “Everybody’s raving about our oven-roasted chicken today,” she means, “We bought WAY too much chicken.  Would you please order some?”

When a wife says, “We need all-new living room furniture,” the husband often replies, “Let me think about it.” What he really means is, “If I stall long enough, she will forget about it.” (Spoiler alert: She will never, ever forget about it.)

When the road construction manager says, “We expect to have this widening project complete in a year, weather permitting,” that means you can add a month for every day it rains.

When the real estate ad describes an old house as “stunning,” that could mean many things. Often I am stunned it is still standing.

When a political candidate says, “I will vote to raise taxes only as a last resort,” he really means, “I will vote to raise taxes.”

When a baseball announcer says, “What a day for Jones!  He really brought his A-game today,” he really means, “Most days, he just shows up to pick up his paycheck.”

When the online hotel ad says, “Our rooms have a rustic flavor, with classic décor,” it really means, “We haven’t changed the carpet or the curtains since 1966.”

When the big oil companies say, “We must raise gas prices immediately because we’ve heard there are strong winds in the Gulf,” they really mean, “We’ve been looking for an excuse to jack up gas prices, and now we’ve found it. We’re gonna keep ’em jacked up as long as we can get away with it!”

When the store ad says, “Buy this refrigerator, and get a $100 rebate by mail,” what they really mean is, “Hey, if we really wanted to give you $100, we’d hand it over now.  We’re hoping you’ll forget to mail in the rebate!”

And in all fairness, I must tell one on myself. When I check that little box that says, “I have read and agreed to all terms and conditions,” I really mean, “There’s no way I’m going to read all that fine-print gobbledy-gook. Let’s get on with this!”

David Carroll, a Chattanooga, Tennessee, news anchor, is the author of “Volunteer Bama Dawg,” a collection of his best stories. His website is, and you may contact him at 900 Whitehall Road, Chattanooga, TN 37405 or Twitter: @davidcarroll3.