Reverse Living

All around me every day, fantastic little phrases woosh past my consciousness; things that, as an aspiring writer, I know I should grab onto immediately. Write in a notebook, type into Notes on my phone, take a photograph of (if that is possible). Most of the time, I don’t bother, and they slip away.

When I say fantastic, I’m afraid I’m not talking today about poetic or beautiful phrases. I’m talking about advertising slogans that strike me as so utterly silly that they tickle my sense of the absurd and make me itch to write something silly. Or, on other occasions, it’s badly written, poorly-spelled copy that brazenly invites an outpouring of sarcasm from anyone who aspires to produce good writing.

Every day I encounter examples of these, in electronic newsletters, billboards, magazine advertisements and TV advertising. Recently I was so intrigued by the stupidity of a TV ad for fish fingers that I managed to write a whole post inspired by their very silly tag line, and at the time I suggested this topic could become a series, so I guess, in an astounding first for this blog, we could consider this as the second post in a series.

(Phrases that are beautifully written, poetic, wise, or moving, do come my way too, and sometimes I write those in a notebook, but those types of phrase provide a different kind of motivation to an aspiring writer, and are not what I’m referring to today.)

Today’s focus is – and where else would you start, really? – a pamphlet full of Real Estate listings. Real Estate listings are a great source of generating righteous indignation from anyone interested in good writing, and they also often have the effect of make me yearn, not for a new house, but for a job where I could write copy for a Real Estate agent who was happy for me to go totally overboard with ridiculous claims, adding a conscious level of absurdity to rhetoric that is already bursting with hyperbole.

This particular pamphlet exhibited writing skills of a higher level than a lot of Real Estate copy I’ve seen, but after I’d read a few of the listings, I suspected the copy writer had recently attended a Real Estate Copy Writing seminar at which she, or he, had taken a strong liking to the word, and concept, complement.

This light filled home is complemented by a stunning new kitchen….

A sun drenched Merbau deck that makes entertaining desirable complements the downstairs proportions where polished concrete floors…..

The investment credentials of this bright one bedroom apartment are clearly complemented by the quality of its location literally less than a minute or two from [local] Park’s green expanses……

Commencing in [local area] – from either first home buyer or investor viewpoints – is a strategy significantly complemented by this sought after pocket’s proximity to [local] Park and [local] Road bus routes.

Such great convenience complements inviting proportions including living and dining areas…..

Hmmm. An impressive display of uses for the word complements. The writer throws it around with flair, even delving from the safe model of describing features of the house as complementing other features of the house, and making a brave foray into a crossover, where the investment strategy itself is described as being complemented by the area around the house! Bravo! Points for ingenuity – although I’m not quite certain that, outside of copy writing, a strategy is accurately described as being complemented by elements that make the strategy a smart plan in the first place. Surely if the meaning of complement is:

combining in such a way as to enhance or emphasize the qualities of each other 

then the sought after pocket’s proximity to the local park and roads should also be enhanced by the investment strategy, for that phrase to be correct. But now I’m just being picky.

On its own, however, over-use of the word complement would not have been enough to catapult this Real Estate pamphlet into a post on this blog. (Never fear, our standards for inclusion are stringently high. Applicants must submit a 3-page CV and answer a series of multiple choice questions written in invisible ink, before they are given the location of our secret clubhouse, where submissions for this blog may be dropped through a slot, in hardcopy only.)

It was this that caught my imagination, under the heading INSTANTLY INVITING DUAL LEVEL DIMENSIONS:

Comprising two downstairs bedrooms, a stylish bathroom, reverse living, enjoying an abundance of natural sunshine….

Wait a minute. Reverse living?

Now that is a feature I have not previously seen in a Real Estate listing. It’s all the more intriguing because Reverse Living sounds like an alternative lifestyle choice, and Real Estate copy makes ample use of suggestion about the kind of lifestyle you could attain if you live in a certain house, or area – yet here, Reverse Living is listed as a feature of the house itself.

How can this be the case?

I didn’t have to ponder this for long before it became clear that the only possible explanation is that the house is in some kind of space-time continuum.*  A clue can be found in the heading for this listing – have another look at it (above.) Dual Dimensions.

The Real Estate agent obviously doesn’t want to scare anyone by stating it too clearly, but the enigma becomes clear when one realises that the house exists in dual dimensions, or dual level dimensions, depending on how technical you want to get about it. (For the sake of my readership, I will avoid getting too technical about it.) It may be located in a black hole, or very close to some massive body that exerts its own gravitational pull, and I’m not talking about the obese neighbour up the street.

CENTRALLY LOCATED TO ALL THIS AREA HAS TO OFFER

CENTRALLY LOCATED TO ALL THIS AREA HAS TO OFFER

Pic: Wikipedia

I picture a family living in this house: everyone walking backwards at high speed (high speed for no reason other than because those two things go together in a nicely entertaining way, like an old-fashioned black-and-white film). There they go, heading backwards out the door at night (step inside this spacious abode), stepping backwards onto the bus (proximity to nearby bus routes), travelling backwards to work or school (ideally situated to enjoy [local school]), walking backwards with their dog, from the local park (close to significant park expanses), and all the while, the days go by, from night through to morning, and they are gradually getting younger, until at last the children disappear and the parents become children, then babies, and after crawling around backwards for a while, finally they also vanish.

Of course, as I’m sure you’re aware, if the property is in a space-time continuum, time will be slowed down inside the house. That means the process of getting younger will actually take thousands of “Earth” years to eventuate, but to the family, it would feel as if it was only a few years going by. So it shouldn’t really bother them, other than to cause them to wonder why their friends are getting older and dying while they, in contrast, seem to get younger. They would probably also exclaim occasionally as the years go by, that the rate at which Apple launches new iPhones seems to have become ridiculously frequent these days.

All in all, the reverse living feature is not necessarily a negative aspect to the property in question, but I think the writer is right to underplay the significance of the feature. In fact, I think he or she has done a good job of a challenging Real Estate listing, by including information about the more unusual aspect of the house in a neutral way, and leaving it open to the buyer to decide for themselves. Well written.

 

The house, viewed through gravitational lensing, allowing us to see through dual dimensions

The house, looking washy because we are viewing it through gravitational lensing, allowing us to see through the dual dimensions.

 

Pic: © Blathering

*

 

For another exploration of advanced scientific theory on this blog, see The Behaviour Of Socks

*All my knowledge of the time-space continuum was gained through many years of study, of this page: Can Someone Explain The Time-Space Continuum In Simple Terms? 

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4 Comments

  1. I find that “reverse living dwellings”, or “RLDs”, are best as summer houses or holiday homes where one can rejuvenate (literally) during one’s holiday.

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    • Wait – so there is such a thing?? And it’s so well known it already has an acronym?? Or are you pulling my leg? I can’t tell!!! 😥😀

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  2. piece fine another Hehe (a reverse compLIment)

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  3. We live in an age of jargon. Every wannabe specialist discipline, it seems, has developed its own patois, complete with alien grammar and ridiculous invented vocabulary. This can be excused in maths and the sciences where it is essential to know the exact meaning of the terms being used but it is less excusable in that realm of fumbling inexactness that we call everyday life.

    Three words in particular get my goat. The first is the increasingly common use of the verb decimate as though it means destroy. Decimate has a precise meaning: it means to kill one in ten of the population as a punitive measure. Misuse of words may be irritating but the matter is more important than that: when a word is misappropriated we lose the ability to express the concept previously expressed by that word. (Similarly, we have lost the concept of carefree, cheerfulness previously expressed by the word gay. We are now condemned to use in its place euphemisms that don’t mean quite the same thing. The language has suffered a less of expressive power.)

    My second pet hate is the word issue. This has now been hijacked to mean ‘problem’, ‘difficulty’ or ‘error’. For example, we read that ‘there are issues with the latest version of the software’ or ‘any issues will have to be dealt with at a later stage’. Companies advertise that they deal with your ‘drainage issues’ (i.e. blocked drains) or ‘electricity supply issues’ (i.e.they mend blown fuses).

    Hand in hand with the above is my third bête noire, the word solutions. We know what it means. For example, if you mix salt with water, you create a saline solution. Alternatively, if you manage to crack a maths problem you can be said to have found the solution, i.e. you have dissolved the problem. That’s not how the brave new generation of entrepreneurs uses it, though. They use it to mean… well, not to mean anything at all, really. For example, you see vans advertising that the firm undertakes ‘gardening solutions’ (i.e. does gardening) or ‘engineering solutions’ (i.e. does engineering). I wonder whether companies that make medicinal and other mixtures advertise that they offer ‘solution solutions’. They might as well.

    It just goes to show that the snake-oil salesman never went away. He just moved into the field of ‘health erosion issues’ for which he provides ‘wellness solutions’.

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