We’ve all heard them. We might have even said them from time to time. “It’s like comparing apples to oranges.” “It’s for the best.” “When God closes a door, He opens a window.” We pepper our daily conversations with a lengthy list of cliches and sayings that, regardless of our best intentions, may or may not actually make sense.
There are a few popular expressions that I hear almost daily that never fail to make me wince. Depending on the amount of wine I’ve had, I can usually resist the overwhelming temptation to say “Whut??” (Although not always, often sparking spontaneous verbal sparring matches with drunk party guests, longsuffering parents and self-proclaimed-but-idiot religious experts). On a recent evening rant about expressions that make me crazy, Hubs commented that he was surprised I hadn’t written a blog post about them.
So I did.
The Top 12 Stupidest Things People Say:
1. “There but by the grace of God go I.” Seriously, dude? So what you’re telling me is that God loves you and therefore is gracious in His forgiveness of your screw-ups, but that poor sot must have pissed the Big Guy off because his life sucks. Your God sounds a tad vindictive. Best haul your fortunate butt to church, pronto, and say thanks, before He decides you’re a loser and He takes his grace elsewhere.
2. “Do you want an honest answer?” No. Actually, I prefer that you continue to lie to me every time you open your mouth, as you’ve obviously been doing, since you suddenly seem compelled to offer honesty as an heretofore unexplored option.
3. “I don’t mean to be critical, but…” But BOOM, you’re going to be. Whenever someone starts a sentence with “I don’t mean to be critical/judgmental/mean/fill-in-the-blank-with-something-negative,” that’s exactly what they’re going to be. If you don’t mean to be critical, don’t be. Otherwise, just spit out your criticism or judgment without preamble. You’re not any less of a bitch just because you say you don’t mean to be one.
4. “It just happened.” Often offered up as an excuse for an affair. So let me get this straight. You were standing there feeding the homeless and a huge tornado ripped through the building, ripping your clothes off and blowing you on top of the inexplicably also-naked woman standing next to you? You’re right. It wasn’t your fault. Damn tornadoes.
5. “All things in moderation.” Well, that’s boring. Where’s the passion, the energy, the future blog post?? Moderation may be fine for some things, but moderation doesn’t make memories. “Here lies Vikki. Beloved wife and mother. She did all things in moderation. She was the most boring person on the planet.” Yeah, no. I’m thinking ”Here lies Vikki. Full Steam Ahead, Damn the Consequences. She was crazy, but damn, she was fun.”
6. “Good things come to those who wait.” Then the world is full of lazy freeloaders who are about to strike it rich, because they’ve waited for years. Good things come to those who go out and make it happen. I would never tell my child to wait for what he wants. Worst. Advice. Ever.
7. “Money is not important.” Almost always pretentiously stated by someone who has a butt-load of it. I’ve never heard a poor person say this. But if it’s not important to you, feel free to give me your banking information.
8. “God never gives you more than you can handle.” So what you’re saying is that if God determines that I’m a strong person, He just might heap all sorts of tragedy upon me simply because “I can take it”? Wow. I think I’d prefer God thought I was a total wuss, so He’d never give me anything bad and my life would be all unicorns and rainbows forever. Seriously, people. Y’all need to consider a different church, where God is a little kinder to His flock.
9. “My bad.” In the old days, we used to say “I’m sorry,” which was classier and less flippant. “My bad” is juvenile and patronizing. No one over the age of 20 should use this as an apology for a mistake. Ever.
10. “It was in the last place I looked.” Well, duh. We’re assuming that once you found said lost item, you quit looking, because, well, you found it.
11. “I could care less.” Let’s clear this one up for all time. This means you could care less. As in, “I don’t care much, but it is possible to care less than I do right now.” What most people are trying to say is “I couldn’t care less,” meaning “It’s not possible for me to care less about this.” I’m a grammar buff. You can shoot me now.
12. “That’s just the way I am.” Rarely used to excuse one’s better traits. (“I give $1,000 every year to the Food Bank because that’s just the way I am.” Never heard at a bar.) This one is usually reserved to justify behaviors we should change but have no current plans to do so, and is often offered up by people who believe that all negative behavior is an uncontrollable and incurable disease. If you’re happy and your life is working for you, rock on with your rebel self. But if no one wants to be around you because you’re, well, a total jackass, you might consider being a little less “just the way you are.”
So there you have it. I feel so much better now. If you like this list, add yours in the comment section in my blog. If I’ve offended you in any way, my bad. STOP THAT. I’m sorry. Are we still friends?
— Vikki Claflin
Oregon writer Vikki Claflin writes the popular humor blog, Laugh Lines. Two recent pieces have been published in Life Well Blogged: Parenting Gag Reels — Hilarious Writes and Wrongs: Take 26.