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Where bad ideas meet a watery end

January 31, 2012

Good boy, Rumpert! That’s just the idea I was looking for!

I like it when people say “flush” when they mean “flesh,” as in “I’ll flush out the idea and get back to you.”

Actually it drives me crazy, but this blog is about what I like so I’ll chalk this one up as a favorite stupid verbal mistake.

Flush is used—properly—as a verb three ways:

  • To make something appear– often with the help of dogs, a large stick or threats (see photo above).
  • To make something disappear with lots of rushing water
  • To turn red due to fever, humility, embarrassment or a rash

Flush does not and never has meant to grow, expand or add detail to. That is to flesh.

Is an idea thought up in the WC one that you “flush out?”

I suppose one could flush out an idea; that is to discover it hiding among the gray matter and force it into the open. In other words, to THINK of it. And I suppose that someone who says whatever pops into his head is “flushing out” an idea. But that is the opposite of thinking.

District Attorney Adam Schiff (portrayed by Steven Hill) was an excellent judge of flushable ideas.

Certainly there are notions worthy of being flushed the second way. This is the origin of the phrase “what a crappy idea.” And the meaning intended by NY District Attorney Adam Schiff (seen above) when he said to ADA Jack McCoy, “that deal left skid marks in the bowl.”

So please, when you’re working on an idea, notion, story, treatment or outline, don’t say you’re flushing it unless you are tossing it. Or painting it red. Or inflating it. Or giving it measles.

Original advertisement for the first patented devise for the disposal of bad ideas.

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