27 March 2012

If You Don't Have Anything Good to Say, Say a Cliche

I’ve noticed a trend in clichés that points towards clichés actually being just wrong a lot of the time. Take for instance, no pain no gain. This sounds good when your buddy shouts it at you while you are trying to bench-press your bodyweight plus no exercise and a few too many beers for a few too many years. But then if you think about it, does that actually make sense? A lot of times I got things without pain. It happens all the time. Once I found some money on the ground. Sure, someone else had some pain when they lost it, but the cliché is not talking about other people. A bank robber does not shoot some in the leg, take all the money, and then as he is leaving yell back, “no pain no gain.” Plus, it sounds like every time there is pain something good is going to happen. I’ve seen boxers get hit in the face until they can’t see through all the blood and then fall to the ground and lose. Where is the gain? How about we just say what is true, “without effort, gain is unlikely.” That makes sense. Sure it is not as fun to say, I’d happily spend a few seconds saying something that is true then one second to say something wrong.
Another cliché that annoys me is, “one bird in the hand is better than two birds in the bush.” One, this cliché just sounds dumb to start with. Two, it is wrong. It depends on the size of the bird that you killed and have in your hand ready to eat. If you killed a hummingbird, that is both unusually mean, and also worthless for eating, and it would probably be better to have two turkeys in the bush ready to be hunted down, killed and eaten. I know that the saying is not meant to me taken literal, but it would be nice if they used a proper analogy that made sense to people.
The list of clichés goes on and on. I use them from time to time when I get sloppy. It does not mean you are a bad person if you use a cliché from time to time, it just means there is that possibility. Maybe spend a few seconds thinking about what it is that you are saying next time rather than just repeat some nonsense that you hear someone else saying that sounded kind’a good when they said it. Yeah, it’s actually possible to come up with ways to say things that have not been said a million times before. Look words, they fit together in different combinations. It’s like you get to say what you mean to, not what you have heard other people say before! Just a thought.


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