Vice President Joe Biden is getting some flack for a comment he made yesterday when he congratulated the president at the signing of the health care reform bill. A microphone caught Biden whispering to Obama, “This is a big f—— deal!”
He could’ve easily avoided the flap by using a shorthand term for the same phrase. It’s a term a news executive I used to work for would use when there was a big story in the news. “Boys and girls,” he’d say, “This is a BFD.”
His employees knew what he meant without his having to literally spell it out for us. It’s a term that I’ve come to use occasionally–but maybe more often than I should.
I once taught an interviewing class in which students were assigned to produce a list of questions to ask a hypothetical interviewee. They would then read the questions out loud so the rest of the class could hear what they’d come up with. One of the questions a student came up with was, “When did you first realize your discovery would be a BFD?” It was an obvious dig at the teacher and the class broke out in laughter. (Got me.)
I know it’s not necessarily an admirable phrase to use, but it does have this going for it: plausible deniability. What do I mean by BFD? Why, “big fantastic deal,” of course. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.