With All Due Respect

John had a skin thing recently, involving multiple trips to the doctor. John rarely goes to the doctor, but when he does, I always learn something. Like, how to respectfully disagree. Or how to . . . seem like you’re respectfully disagreeing? Here:

J: You know that word “notwithstanding,” and how you taught me that it actually kind of means the opposite?

M: Yup. It means “withstanding.”

J: Yeah. So I was thinking about how the phrase “with all due respect” is kind of like that.

M: As in?

J: As in, when the dermatologist told me it was eczema, I said, “With all due respect, I’m going to continue treating it as a fungus.”

M: And you didn’t mean it?

J: No. I mean, in that moment, I didn’t respect him.

M: Because he was wrong.

J: Yeah, basically.

M: With all due respect.

J: With all due respect.

M: Which is, like, none.

J: No respect is due!

M: Because you, Herr Doctor, are wrong!

J: Pretty much!

M: God. That is genius.

J: [Smiles.]

M: I’m loving you so hard right now.

2 Responses to “With All Due Respect”

  1. Carey Knecht says:

    I was in a phase once of trying to notice words that are actually about kind of saying the opposite. So I totally love this post.

    And it is so true. “With all due respect” implicitly limits the amount of respect offered! It’s like, “while I am still committed to offering all the respect to which you ARE due…”

    I learned in a cultural history class that nobody used the word “fresh” to describe food until it started appearing on canned and frozen food, because until then, what would have been the point?

  2. admin says:

    🙂 Yay, Carey! Love that you get exactly what we’re talkin’ about.

    “Nonplussed” is *almost* in this category in that it *sounds* so very much like the opposite of what it is.

    And isn’t “analog” akin to the “fresh” in your example? We never talked about analog anything until we had digital.

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