Attack of the Jargon Gorgon

As he climbed the marble staircase of the Temple of Empowerment, Perceiveus prepared himself to face his greatest foe: Mesnooza, the Jargon Gorgon. Her confusing words had paralyzed many heroes before him. Perceiveus was determined not to make the same mistake.

He reached the top and found Mesnooza waiting for him in the torchlit chamber. He averted his gaze, catching only a glimpse of her glittering eyes. Her features were hidden behind the wall of writhing serpents that gushed from her head like oil-slick tongues. He didn’t need to see the rest of her to know that she was hideous.

Medusa by Caravaggio

“So, your stakeholders have finally sent you to deliver the goods,” said Mesnooza, affecting boredom. “Well, you may have an impressive body of work, but you’re just the flavour of the month to me.”

“We hope you had a game plan before you took on this stretch assignment,” hissed one of her serpent locks.

“You can fire away, but you’ll never be buzzworthy,” pronounced another serpent.

“You think you’re bleeding edge, but you’ve had your heyday,” taunted a third serpent.

Perceiveus ignored the serpent chorus. He circled Mesnooza with caution as her serpents stretched towards him. He flung a dagger at her heart, but she danced away from it.

“I hope you level-set your tiger team, because a win’s not in the cards for you,” sang Mesnooza. Her serpent speakers echoed her.

“It’s time for you to eat a reality sandwich, and stop chasing butterflies.”

“Should have done your due diligence before giving in to blue-sky thinking.”

“Those red flags might have warned you that this was a career-limiting move.”

Perceiveus struggled to concentrate. He grabbed a torch from the wall and thrust it at the nearest serpent. It cried out in pain and went silent. Enraged, a nearby serpent bit his arm, denting his armour. Another serpent whipped him across the face, and he staggered back.

“I don’t think you’re giving this one-hundred-and-ten percent,” snarled Mesnooza, upset by the fiery attack. “Time to go back to the bush league.”

“Feeling hot under the collar?” sneered a serpent. “You’re on a burning platform, and you’re dealing with a bag of snakes.”

“Face it, you’re behind the eight ball. Time to pay the piper.”

“Too many balls in the air. You can’t hack it,” spat another serpent.

Hack it. Sword! In the confusion of battle, Perceiveus had forgotten his primary weapon. He drew his blade and began slicing through his reptilian enemies.

“You might think you’re making an impact, but I’m not low-hanging fruit,” panted Mesnooza, as she dodged his blows. Her serpents were not faring as well. Their voices became weaker as their numbers diminished.

“You might be gaining traction, but you haven’t moved the needle,” one murmured as it went unconscious.

“You think you have your ducks in a row, but we’re playing hardball,” whispered another faintly.

“Time to…think outside the box!” croaked a wounded serpent, before Perceiveus cut its neck clean through.

Mesnooza was exhausted. No one had ever stood up to her power, and she did not know what to do. Her single remaining serpent seemed to realize the game was up.

“Let’s get down to brass tacks and bottom-line it,” said the serpent. “It’s cut and dry that it’s time to put this to bed. Time to fish or cut bai-”

Perceiveus looked up from the serpent’s severed head. “It’s over, Mesnooza.”

But Perceiveus had made the mistake of looking Mesnooza in the eye. Now that she was no longer hidden behind her jargon serpents, Perceiveus could see her true face. She was the most beautiful woman that he had ever beheld.

“I’m sorry I caused you trouble,” she said. “I feel so free now, like a great weight has been lifted from me.”

Perceiveus was stunned into silence.

While Perceiveus stared, Mesnooza slipped away through a side door and escaped from the temple. Who knew that I could stop men in their tracks without my jargon? she thought. Enough of that ugliness. It’s time for me to start a new life. And I’ll create a new name to go with it. Hmmm. I’ve always liked Helen…

***

Image: Medusa by Caravaggio. Source: Wikipedia.

I hope you enjoyed my retelling of Perseus and Medusa. This story was inspired by my difficulties in cutting through jargon in a business environment. What jargon have you heard that brings on your fighting spirit?

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8 thoughts on “Attack of the Jargon Gorgon

  1. Oh, the “lowest hanging fruit” one used to drive me up the wall, an old boss of mine used to say it ALL THE TIME! There also was a lot of “adding value” and “looking forward” and “peeling the onion”.

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    1. Oh yes, peeling the onion, one of my all-time personal favourites. 😉 I think every boss finds their signature saying on purpose so they can brighten our lives with it…every…day…lol! My condolences!

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  2. Haha, oops I forgot to add, I nominated you for an awesome blog reader award. No pressure to accept or do anything, just a way to say thanks for reading and commenting, I always love hearing from you!

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  3. Love the story, Sue! The “time for you to eat a reality sandwich” cracked me up. Most of the jargon I hear is from the school system when they are telling me how wonderful some new curriculum is or some new program they want to put in place. It drives me nuts. Just speak English!

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    1. Thanks, Lori! Glad you liked the sandwich. 🙂 You’d think in the school system they would try to avoid jargon since they’re teaching their own students how to write clearly…but it doesn’t work that way, does it? This makes me think of a quote by Chris Brogan from his book The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth: “We tend to overwrite and overspeak everything in business – usually out of fear. We use way too many words in order to justify some choice or thought.” Apparently even school systems are not immune!

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  4. This is quite perfect, Sue. I’ve always wondered why business speak caught on in the first place, although I was once told that it adds such confusion to the mix, no one wants to be the person to raise their hand and point out they don’t know what anyone is talking about. There are a few dynamite Youtube videos on this subject–don’t know if you’ve seen any, but they’re a total hoot. So much nonsense and nothing gets done.
    One CEO admitted to me that if he can get through a day without making a decision on anything, he’s created job safety for himself. I shook my head and backed out of that conversation as quickly as I could. Ugh.

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    1. Hi Shelley, I can just picture you in conversation with that CEO! Yikes. I have known many people who defend themselves by using jargon – to protect their ego, to distract everyone from their mistakes, or to push through their point of view by being an “authority.” I hadn’t thought about job safety through indecision, though! Clearly I am going about my work in the wrong way. 😉

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