Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Idle hands are the bee's knees


Yesterday I heard myself use the phrase "at the end of the day." It's a pretentious phrase that tells the person you're talking to "I have now summed this up for you and there's nothing else to be said+" and one of those verbal crutches that props up the vocabulary in a moment of weakness.

"At the end of the day" went rapidly from clever new expression to cliche - an overused, a ready-made set of words that takes the place of meaningful expression.

You have to be careful when you start paying attention to cliches. You will hear yourself oozing them out, and hear them spurting from the mouths of your friends, and if you care about words you won't like yourself and you won't like your friends.

That said, (there's one) I've got my diminished mind focused on them right now, so maybe I can get it out of my system (there's another one) if I make a list of the cliches that are annoying me the most right now.

  • Zero sum game: every time someone says this I have to stop listening to what they're saying and try to remember what the fuck "zero sum game" means, but usually the pedantic ass who said it goes on to explain it.
  • Been there, done that: And you got the T shirt, too, right? Stop saying this.
  • When push comes to shove: Reminds me of the playground bully. Who needs that? I prefer "when the rubber hits the road" because it sounds cooler.
  • Comparing apples and oranges: Usually used when things are not really comparable, so wouldn't it make more sense to say something like "comparing apples to orangutans" or "comparing apples to Wavy Gravy"?
  • There's no "I" in "team":Rarely heard in professional sports, where the word is now spelled "teaim" I think. Best rejoinder ever to this cliche from a person in sports: "Yes, but there is an "I" in "win."
  • Every dog has his day: Yes, and every day for a dog is just about the same. Eat, bark, shit, chew up something valuable, slobber, eat, bark, pee. I don't see them writing in little diaries about how they really had their day.
  • Avoid like the plague: Let's face it, references to the plague are a few centuries out of date. Maybe when need something more current like "Avoid like the Lifetime Channel" or "Avoid like a Jehovah's Witness."
  • “Yeah. A little TOO quiet.” Always said in a movie right before somebody gets their head cut off or something. Must be in the screenwriter's "Compendium of Hackneyed Dialogue." Just once I'd like to see someone say this in a movie and then have absolutely nothing happen.
  • What's up with that?: As soon as a comedian comes out with this it's time to start heckling.
  • Drinking the Kool Aide: Classic "funny the first time you hear it" cliche but people who like it like it too much. And besides, it's a reference to coerced mass suicide so probably better to just let sleeping dogs - never mind.
  • Unsung heroes: Nobody ever mentions "sung heroes."
  • Outpouring of support: Just flat out boring.
  • Best-kept secret: Almost never true by the time somebody pastes this tag on something because somebody in PR has been telling everyone they can reach about the "best-kept secret."
  • Last-ditch effort: As useless as a "Herculean effort" because nobody really relates to trench warfare all that much these days, and nobody knows who Hercules was.
I'm going to start using some completely new phrases and try to make them into cliches, such as:

  • Button down pants
  • As hot as a tuna on wheat with a nice aioli
  • You can't count your chickens because you don't have any
  • Happy as a big turd
  • Whistling past the Home Depot
  • The pot of soup at the end of the orangutans

Please assist me in introducing these fresh new future cliches into the lexicon. That would make me happy as a man wearing both a striped shirt and striped pants.

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