You know how it is, you post an innocent opinion or comment on a website and someone thinks they should have a word or two with you about it, then someone else joins in to either defend you or point out where else you've gone wrong, and if you have any sense you never visit the website again and stay well out of it, but...
Yup, nowadays the website will keep writing to you to say that someone has commented on your post, or joined the discussion, or even glanced in the general direction of a computer that would display your original post if he or she should care to look for it, and the email provider always
displays just enough of the message for you to think "By George, I must put this person straight immediately!", and there you are. In a discussion, and desperately trying to avoid it turning into an argument.
So, I got involved in a discussion...
And it was in the course of this discussion that someone opined that they could guess what my opinions on everything would be because I was a typical lefty labour party supporting woolly-hearted socialist. It was the "Hearted" bit that struck me, thus rendering me unable to forget the conversation. Did the poster really mean "Hearted", or did they really mean "Headed"?
I thought I should be told.
Alas I may never get an answer to that particular question as several people joined in predicting my opinions on everything. Some of them surprised me. I will happily admit that, all things being equal, you'll find me supporting the person, animal, insect, germ, plant, or inanimate object at the bottom of the pile, and if that makes me in anyway woolly, then woolly I shall be. Unfortunately my correspondents had run into my right-wing side.
One of them used the word "Virtually". Ooh, that's sooo annoying, 'virtually' is an underdog word.
'Virtually' started it's life as a superlative of 'absolutely', and 'absolutely' is a word which needs no superlative. Who needs a word meaning 'absolutely absolutely'? 'Absolutely' itself only survives by the skin of its teeth because it has other uses, albeit there are other words that duplicate those other uses (Like 'yes'), 'virtually' only survives because its mini-me and minimini-me, 'virtual' and 'virtue' do have their values.
So what has happened to poor old 'virtually'? Well it got caught up in biznis-speak. People were heard to say silly things like "This hospital is virtually germ-free", meaning "This hospital is absolutely absolutely germ free", or in other words "This hospital has not one germ on its floor space, not one crack or crevice has escaped our attention, you could crawl through our sewers and drink the water. All mice, cockroaches, rats and other vermin have been exterminated and their fleas vaporised, no bird will attempt to land upon our roof for fear of our thermo-nuclear deterrent, and we have guards on all doors lest any germ should attempt to sneak in disguised as a patient".
The problem being that we all knew it was a lie, firstly because we can only be sure we've killed all known germs
and secondly because we know that those concerned in the interview are themselves walking germ hootenannies, and thus poor old 'virtually' was devalued into a management alternative to 'almost'. Nowadays virtually everyone uses it in that context.
Tell me you don't feel a bit sorry for it.