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Cliche Soup

Updated on September 6, 2012

You can say that again...

As a writer and reasonably intelligent person (I've awarded myself that distinction, because I'm the one typing and am thus in control of the award program), I'm acutely aware of our overuse of certain expressions that have ceased having meaning. They've become cliches. Even talking about cliches is cliche. But I'll do it anyway - because again, I'm the awarder and awardee.

Plus, it takes one to know one, right? Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. But when your back is to the wall, you have to come out swinging. But hey, I'm just pulling your leg. I would say "break a leg", but I'm fit as a fiddle. Dontcha know? You betcha!

Excuse me, a little bit of vomit is coming into the back of my throat. Don't you hate that? I just keep grinding them out, they're growing like weeds! But hey, don't hate me because I'm beautiful - I'm just the messenger! The little guy. Doing the bidding of The Man, the Big Cheese, the Big Kahuna, the Head Enchilada.

I have to say, this is so distasteful I'm actually wanting to set fire to this hub so far. Aren't they awful? It's like eating those red hot tamales - you eat one, it grabs you, so you eat another, then another. Suddenly you reach a point where you hate them, and you hate yourself for eating them, because they're just gelatin and sugar with a bunch of nasty preservatives that are probably eating your liver and sucking away your brain cells.

Much like cliches.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"It is a cliche that most cliches are true, but then like most cliches, that cliche is untrue." ~ Stephen Fry
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

No Cliche for You!
No Cliche for You! | Source
Alphabet Soup by Travis3120
Alphabet Soup by Travis3120 | Source

Well, you know what they say ...

"They" certainly have an answer for everything, don't they? They being those ubiquitous, identity-less, but opinionated masses of hooligans in the know. Certainly, they must be right, or why would they say these things? They know! How do I know they know? They said so. And who would they be if they made these things up?

We identify with them because we can quickly disavow kinship with them once one of their opinions is summarily dis-proven. Then, it wasn't us who thought that, it was them - those masses who said those things. And certainly if they are right, well, didn't they say so? And we should have known they knew what they were talking about.

And who really wants to think anyway? Isn't it easier to just assume they know what is needed to be known, thus making the use of our minds a waste of valuable thought energy that really should be used for more fruitful things like checking Facebook and texting more cliches to our friends and family who just clamor for the abbreviated word-rapes we send to them while sitting in important work meetings?

So here are some things we know because, "You know what they say..."

  • "About guys with big feet ..."
  • "You can't take it with you when you die ..."
  • "You get what you pay for ..."
  • "You can't have it both ways ..."
  • "Life is short and then you die ..."
  • "Things can't get any worse ..."
  • "If it isn't one thing, it's another ..."
  • "You can't have your cake and eat it too ..."
  • "Monkey see, monkey do ..."
  • "About a fool and his money ..."
  • "You can't have it all ..." (followed by Steven Wright's "Where would you put it?")

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"It pains me to say this, but I may be getting too mature for details." ~ Seinfeld

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

VocabuStretch

I understand why we borrow tired, old phrases. I catch myself doing it from time to time ;-) It can unfortunately become a habit, a way of keeping ourselves from reality, from exercising our options and testing lazy theories based upon no analysis, or on some blowhard talk show host who says, "leave the thinking to me." It worries me, how so few people I talk with these days have an original thought. I hear ego distortions, repeated themes and tired expressions throughout each day, and no, I don't correct anyone, or even make them feel badly. I'm just surprised at how little self-knowledge there appears to be from people who espouse tired and unsupported thoughts, because they heard a commercial message from a person they probably don't know well, and trusted without verifying.

We'll always have cliches. There's a value for Poor Richard's Almanac, for meaningful quotes, and Lao Tzuisms (e.g. "a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step"). Those help to transport us to a higher realm of understanding and awareness. We should all be able to tell the difference.

Just think. Stop. Close your eyes. Absorb the messages around you. Have your own thermostat that sets the temperature, and plant your feet into firm terrain that you know and control and understand. You are smarter than you think. Each of us has the gift of intellectual discernment. What an avoidance of cliches forces us to do is expand our vocabulary and stretch our understanding of meanings and distinctions that really do matter.

... And I think to myself, what a miraculous macrocosm!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"A country man between two lawyers, is like a fish between two cats." ~ Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanac

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Comments

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    • profile image

      klarawieck 

      6 years ago

      Beautiful choice! Love it!

    • Gerg profile imageAUTHOR

      Gerg 

      6 years ago from California

      Thanks Klara! Interestingly, I had looked up this song for another reason before you and I discussed how you used it in your classes. So I considered that synchronistic and decided to include it in this hub!

      G

    • profile image

      klarawieck 

      6 years ago

      Ah! There is that song once again! Now it's definitely going to remind me of this hub, which put a big smile on my face, of course.

      I have the best cliches because they're translated from Spanish and people go, "huh?!" and I just talk away with a smile. Ha! Let them think I'm crazy! They're right! :D

      Awesomely, beautifully, interestingly, and all the ly's that I could click on! The wait was worth it!

    • Gerg profile imageAUTHOR

      Gerg 

      6 years ago from California

      Yup, when you look at them with a sense of humor it changes everything! And you're right - another is "I know how you feel", when the person clearly couldn't...

    • Jackwms profile image

      Jackwms 

      6 years ago

      These days I keep hearing cliches related to age, and find myself rolling my eyes when I hear them. For example, "Age is just a number"; You're only as old as you feel"; "It's better than the alternative"; and "life improves with age" . There are many, many more. I don't mind them very much, but find them condescending. Most other cliches I take with a grain of salt (another cliche). Hey, this could get to be fun.

    • Gerg profile imageAUTHOR

      Gerg 

      6 years ago from California

      Majadez and arb: What a couple of great comments! You've taken my thought bubble and captured the essence of the issue. It is hard to have completely independent thought, and yet it is increasingly difficult to catch ourselves using tired cliches in the course of our every day lives. You're correct - this is about just thinking, pausing and trying not to be a sloppy facsimile of an uniqely thinking person. This is why Hubpages is so much better than other social media, in my opinion - the community by and large is more intelligent and discerning, and seems to be inhabited by many seekers of deeper understanding. Thank you both for contributing to that effort!

      G

    • arb profile image

      arb 

      6 years ago from oregon

      Communication has been reduced to soundbites. Thinking is so inconvenient in a world where convenience is so utterly convenient. We have pre packaged, pre approved responses to everything and regurgitation takes such little time. Of course, someone has probably already condensed this comment into a regurgitable facsimilie like, "I can't improve on whats already been said" or "why reinvent the wheel". We could simply start responding with "Did you come up with that on your own?" Oh no! My question has become a cliche.

    • Majadez profile image

      Maja Dezulovic 

      6 years ago from Johannesburg, South Africa

      I enjoyed reading this. Yes, there are good sayings and idioms but it's a shame people choose not to separate them from meaningless, unverified phrases. Well put!

      I think people don't care enough to think. As long as you're comfortable, why think about it?! ;)

    • Gerg profile imageAUTHOR

      Gerg 

      6 years ago from California

      Thanks Karry. I could have gone on and on ... ;-)

      Thanks for the support!

    • Karry Campbell profile image

      Karry Campbell 

      6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      As a lover of cliches, I loved it!

    • Gerg profile imageAUTHOR

      Gerg 

      6 years ago from California

      I'll work on that, Winsome. Perhaps it's related - on one side spurious rants, on the other original poetry. I'll have to find some balance. Or words!

    • Winsome profile image

      Winsome 

      6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      I think I have lost enough brain cells with each cliche infested sentence that you are now officially responsible for me. I think I'm supposed to be doing something right now but it's cliched completely out. I'm going to sit here until it comes back or you write an original poem or something. =: )

    • Gerg profile imageAUTHOR

      Gerg 

      6 years ago from California

      Thank you, Alecia for your support of my silly little rant! Of course, you're right about quicker; perhaps that's a big part of the problem - slowing down sometimes... ;-)

      And thanks Dad - pretty hard to avoid them, aint it?

      G

    • Jackwms profile image

      Jackwms 

      6 years ago

      A real masterpiece (Hmmm. is that cliche?) Greg. It is funny, yet true, and each sentence led me to keep reading. Great hub.

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 

      6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Very cool hub! I agree that cliches will be around as long as there are people. It's hard to always think of something new and funny to say. Sometimes, cliches get the point across quicker.

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