Any intelligent human being

Raymond Chen

The story of The Best reminded me of a classmate from school who was inordinately fond of the phrase any intelligent human being. For example, our classmate would say, “Any intelligent human being would do X” or “It’s obvious to any intelligent human being that Y.” (I often—but not always—consider myself to be an intelligent human being, yet sometimes the things “any intelligent human being” would do were things I personally wouldn’t.) On the other hand, you wouldn’t hear our classmate use the phrase in sentences like “I cannot comprehend how any intelligent human being would be fooled by Z.” Eventually, one of my friends determined that the phrase any intelligent human being was our classmate’s replacement for the first person singular pronoun. By “It is obvious to any intelligent human being that Y,” our classmate really meant “It is obvious to me that Y.”

Thenceforth, we referred to our classmate as Any Intelligent Human Being (or AIHB for short, and capitalized since it’s now a proper noun). Example: “I saw Any Intelligent Human Being in the cafeteria yesterday.”


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