Features » You Cannot Be Serious!
YOU CAN’T BE SERIOUS. - CONVIVIAL CONVERSATIONS CRAMMED WITH CORNY CLICHÉS.
Bernie Comaskey / 2010-12-06 20:15:32
This column feels it is time to take a stand against all those worn out clichés and the lethargic sentences strung together by speakers who don’t have an idea in their head, or the ability to express a thought in their own words.
I have nothing against the odd cliché when it is well placed instead of well worn, but they are like retold jokes when you hear the same thing over and over. Politicians are the worst offenders: “The people are telling us on the doorsteps:” “The people on the ground:” (Every time I hear that one I envisage the remainder of mankind up in trees!) Next worst offenders of the cliché club have to be English soccer managers, pundits, panellists and players. Twenty words cannot be strung together without “110%”; “Backs to the wall”; “Hungry” and “At the end of the day” being used.
Good quotes and sayings add spice and enjoyment to interview, conversation or the cut and trust of debate, but the almost mandatory jaded everyday ones should now be banned from the language. You know what I mean: A few lads in the pub chatting away and someone mentions a new supervisor he doesn’t think is up to the job; next contributor will offer the “he doesn’t know his arse from his elbow” line. Contrary as well, which is followed by, “he has a chip on his shoulder.” Then he might be compared to another foreman who is not contrary and this is the cue for “he is as cool as a cucumber.” The girl in the office has to be handled gingerly or she might “cut the ground from under you.”
Why are we either “dirt poor” or “filthy rich”? I would like to be clean and rich if that is Ok with the rest of you? Rich or poor, you don’t wake up in the morning in good form; you wake up “fresh as a daisy” and you didn’t wake up real early – you woke “at the crack of dawn”! Now that you are up and you get a set-back during the day a colleague will tell you not to worry because “every cloud has a silver lining.” If your hitch was finding your car with a puncture you don’t say flat wheel; you describe it as “being flat as a pancake.” Try eating an apple and see how many bites you can get before some wise guy advises you that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” You will be informed of this piece of medical science with the same gusto as if this fellow had just made the discovery.
A wife has something she needs to confront the husband about and her friend will advise her not to “beat around the bush” and the husband will complain to his buddy that the wife “has a bee in her bonnet.” A woman who has no business entering The Rose of Tralee contest will be consoled with the advice that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” while someone else may think that such flattery is “leading her down the garden path” – because “she is no spring chicken.”
When things are looking a bit grim for a company or football team we are told that “the writing is on the wall.” Of course if there is no writing on the wall it is because their backs are to it! Chances are that the guy with his back to the wall will be urged that it is now time “to stand up and be counted.” If he does get his back away from the wall and stands up to be counted, he may be awarded with the ultimate accolade of being “the best thing since sliced bread.” Then if he slips again it will be said that he “blows hot and cold” or perhaps “he bit off more than he could chew.” If a relative comes to his rescue or defence someone will say that “blood is thicker than water.”
You will hear from the bald man – for the 20,000th time that “grass doesn’t grow on a busy street”, but the grass which does grow is “always greener on the other side”. As well as not growing on a busy street, it is important “not to let the grass grow under your feet.” “Don’t count you chickens before they are hatched” and “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” is advice you will never be short of – as well as the fact that “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”.
I don’t know a lot of people, who have issues to deal with another person, but I know a heck of a lot who have “an axe to grind” and if they cannot work it out they may well “wash their hands of the whole thing.” Some of the others may decide to “let sleeping dogs lie” or alternatively that a solution is “like looking for a needle in a haystack”. If the stand-off is over money how long before an observer remarks that “money is the root of all evil” and of course the guy who refuses to hand it over insists that “money doesn’t grow on trees.” If nothing comes of seeking redress the victim will be consoled with “no use crying over spilt milk.” Those who did not get involved were probably “sitting on the fence” and that’s “putting it in a nutshell.”
Finally you can be “strong as an ox”, “stubborn as a mule,” “sturdy as an oak” or “stuck in a rut” and you need all of these because it’s all about “survival of the fittest.”
This column is finished with using cheap clichés. Just “watch this space”. Oh dear, there I go again: Ah, not to worry … ‘sher’ “s**t happens”!!
Even the hypocrite admires righteousness – that is why he imitates it.