I heard someone use the colloquialism “on paper” today. After repeating the phrase to myself several times, chewing on its meaning and implication, I’ve decided to reassign this word with the status of a low-tier swear word.
Its continued usage equates the term with something incompatible with reality. It implies that written resolutions, procedures, and theories can be fully and outrightly dismissed because they exist in a completely separate meta-physical plane to our own.
Even more sinister, “on paper” could mean that the very act of ink adhering to paper―through h-bonding, London dispersion, and/or other intermolecular forces―somehow discredits the symbolic thoughts and ideas that are contained within.
Bah, humbug! Rather than throw away the contents because they will never match with reality, take steps to refine the paperwork or create an opportunity to create documentation. If you ever hear me use that phrase in a serious manner, feel free to whip me with a wet noodle.