Friday, December 17, 2010

Clichés That Don't Make Sense

(Yes, I put the accent on the "e" in "Cliché".  I was a French minor, and also happen to have an affinity for things that are correct. I know what you're thinking..."ugh, how bougie of her." Well, "bougie" comes from a French word. So how bougie of YOU. Suck it. Moving on.)

When speaking in everyday English, we often toss out certain age-old phrases, known as clichés, because we've heard them before, other people use them, they sound right for the situation. But unfortunately, we fail to independently examine these phrases and realize that they are the SOLE reason why the rest of the world thinks we are fucking NUTS.  All the fat people walking around, the amount of energy we consume, our healthcare system--none are reasons why the rest of the world hates us. It's because we walk around saying shit like "You can't have your cake and eat it too."

Um...what? You're telling me I have cake, which is a particularly delicious food item, but I can't eat it? What the fuck am I supposed to do with it? Stare at it? Drool on it? Use it as a nice, fluffy, frosting-covered pillow when I pass out from the stress that results from having a piece of cake in front of me that I am forbidden to eat? If I can't eat the cake when I have, it, when do I get to eat it? When someone else has the cake? Do I steal it from my friend's plate? It's her birthday, I don't wanna steal her cake. I already showed up late and drunk to the party and forgot a present, I really can't do that to her. Maybe I can eat the cake before anyone has it, before they bring it out and sing! Can I eat it before it's cooked, while it's still in the batter stage? That's almost as good. But I'll get in trouble with whoever is cooking the cake. I'm so confidence is shot. Can I just have a little tiny piece of cake...please?

"Kill two birds with one stone." That one makes a little more sense...get a bunch of shit done at once. A little morbid, but hey, birds die. Fact of life. My question is, can we modernize it a little? "Kill 7 birds with one bullet if they're standing close enough together and you're using hunting ammunition, unless you're Dick Cheney, in which case you're killing your friend's face." A little longer, doesn't roll of the tongue quite as easily, but you can bet it'll be a fun conversation starter! When you're killing those two birds with one stone, keep in mind that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. So if you have the opportunity to throw a stone of death at two birds, make sure someone is holding them.  They'll be worth twice as much. I think. Hopefully enough to pay for that person's broken hand.

"There's more than one way to skin a cat." Now, we all know I'm not the biggest fan of cats. But, gross. This one raises a whole host of unanswered questions. First, why are people skinning cats? When in history has anyone ever used cat fur for anything? Seriously. You can skin a rabbit, a deer, a moose, a bear, your friend (if you're Dick Cheney) but a cat? Unless you got really angry at your cats after reading my previous post, in which case I take absolutely no responsibility for your sudden cat hatred and will certainly not take the blame when PETA shows up at your house. Can you make a cat rug? No. A coat? Imagine your friend's face when you present the coat you got him, made out of cat fur. So that's a no. Slippers? Boots? Hats? No, no and no. No one skins cats. Ever. Secondly, how many ways are there, really, to skin a cat? I can think of one...with a knife. Do they have cat-skinning peelers, like giant vegetable peelers? Are there machines? If you leave the cat there long enough, will the skin just kind of peel off? For something that is supposed to imply that there are a lot of alternatives to accomplish what you are trying to do, they certainly picked an activity with very few different methods. How about, "There's more than one way to drive to Canada!" I mean, that's very true. You have the whole northern border of the U.S. to deal with, I'm sure there are hundreds of ways to cross it. Ok everyone, start saying "There's more than one way to drive to Canada." Do it. Make it a thing. Step one to world domination.

"It's as easy as pie." Clearly, whoever made that one up never even came close to making a fucking pie. That shit is hard. Take apple pie, for instance. Peel the apples. Core the apples. Slice the apples. Make the cinnamon-y gooey delicious shit and mix it all up with the apples. Mix all the crust ingredients together and roll the dough into a ball. Put it in the fridge. Watch the Ellen DeGeneres show. Take it out of the fridge. Roll it flat. Get angry when the crust gets stuck to the rolling pin and tears a hole in the flatness. Roll it up into a ball again. Roll it flat. Try to pry it off the counter without ruining the flatness. Fail. Roll it up into a ball. Roll it flat. Pry it off the counter and lay it over the pie dish. Put the gooey cinammon-y apples in the pie dish. Roll the other crust flat, and repeat all steps above for the lower crust. Lay the upper crust over the pie. Pinch upper and lower together to try and make it look like a lovely wavy scalloped edge, but wind up with deformed globs of crust at uneven intervals throughout the pie. Yell "fuck you!" at the photo of Martha Stewart staring at you from the cookbook, holding her perfect pie and standing amongst her tasteful Thanksgiving decorations. (who decorates for Thanksgiving? Really, Martha?) Throw the pie in the oven, storm out of the kitchen and yell at someone.  Now, in what world would that ever be considered easy?

"In between a rock and a hard place." Really, cliché maker-upper? You couldn't be bothered to spend ten seconds to think of another hard place? Like, "In between a rock and an anvil." Or, "In between a rock and...another rock." C'mon dude. A little creativity here.

I could go on and on. There are hundreds of clichés out there, being used every day by unsuspecting citizens who are unaware of the crippling effect they are having on our global reputation. They're making me lose my marbles. So slow down. Get your ducks in a row. Think of a different way to say what you're trying to. Make a difference. If not, we'll all go to hell in a handbasket. And thanks for reading my blog. You're the bees knees.


  1. Hey girl, i liked your writing but as a foreigner I have to say that i think all cultures have these popular sayings that don't make sense. We in Brazil for example have a variation of "two birds with one stone", except instead of birds it's rabbits and instead of a stone it's a staff. Oh, and I remembered a variation of "between a rock and a hard place" that you have in English: "between Scylla and Charybdis" in a reference to the Odyssey. That's a good one, and it makes perfect sense (if you know the story)

  2. I think I love you.
    And I'm not a lesbian.

  3. "You can't have your cake and eat it too" doesn't mean that you can't eat the cake. It means that if you eat the cake, you won't have it anymore. You only have cake for as long as you haven't eaten it.

    I'm with you on the rest of the clichés, though.