Non sequiturs

I attended a conference a few weeks ago where one of the featured speakers offered a memorable assertion and then twisted my brain with a rough segue. Here is the excerpt that had me raising my eyebrows:

Let’s look at an insurance example. Actually, everyone has been in an accident. If you haven’t, then you are lucky.

As my brain processed this sequence of nonsense, I looked at my neighbor in the audience with an incredulous smile. She just shook her head and laughed quietly.

Actually, this was a great example of a non sequitur, which is Latin for “it does not follow.”

My old pal Joe Marasco recently found a beautiful quote that is not really a non sequitur, but it is illogical and silly. Joe believes it may get the award for the most absurd quote of the year. I have to agree, but if I see a sillier one in the next few months, I will post it. This comes from a reputable guy in a reputable publication. The topic was financial transaction performance and latency times.

“We’ve literally done every optimization you can imagine.”

This is a great misuse of the word literally. The context of this quote really doesn’t matter. It is hard to imagine a context where every optimization you can imagine is a small enough set that they could all have been performed.


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