The fish was THIS big!
I was THIS close to getting that 14-point buck!
It took me FOREVER to get home because of that traffic!
I almost DIED after that workout!
Children are ALWAYS so ill-mannered these days!
Do you know someone who always over-exaggerates everything?
I will admit that I exaggerate as much as the next person. I did NOT actually feel like my legs were going to fall off after a 12-mile run a few weeks ago, albeit they were tired. The traffic I got stuck in the other day was NOT the most annoying thing ever, but it was an inconvenience. I realize that the amount of sweat I produce on any given day here is NOT equal to my body weight as I often claim, but I do spend a lot of time drippy, or at the very least clammy.
For the most part, I think those hyperbolic statements are fairly harmless. While they may be gross exaggerations, they do not inflict pain or perpetuate oppression or covertly deceive others. But, when do exaggerations move from hyperbole, which is not meant to be taken seriously, to deception or bold-faced lying?
I recently read this article that discusses how the advertised "fruit" in many processed foods is not actually fruit at all. Does this cross the line? Or, what about when a nation's claimed literacy rate is based on a person's ability to sign their name and not an ability to read, write, and understand language? Is it deceptive for someone to speak as though they are an expert on a topic after reading a book or attending a lecture? I have watched some documentary-type videos in the past few weeks in which were made some bold claims with little evidence to support them. Was this just hyperbole (because surely no one would take that broad of a statement seriously), or was this deception (because important, relevant evidence was omitted and the producers knew that few people would actually pursue that evidence on their own)?
I do not have the answers to these questions, but I have realized that I want to be more careful about the claims I make, the images I present, and the "truth" I believe.