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Don't Go There...

April 22, 2013

Clichés are as old as the hills. You can spout them until the cows come home, but you'll catch more flies with honey if you remember that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush...or something like that. I was in a meeting the other day when I heard a few of what I consider to be more modern clichés although not necessarily all that new. Someone suggested we "think outside the box." I don't understand that. Why isn't this box big enough for more ideas? Are all the ideas completely gone? Have we really exhausted all possibilities inside the box? That one is annoying, but more annoying to me is "at the end of the day...blah blah blah...", which is basically saying that we don't want to deal with all the details that this particular issue brings up as long as the end result is what we want it be or how we perceive it will be. Great. I don't want to wait until the end of the day. I want to figure out how to solve this issue soon. Preferably before lunch so I don't ruin my appetite.

The one expression I hate the most...the one that seems so redundant is "agree to disagree." What? We disagree! That's it! Let's look at this mathematically: I have statement x. You have statement y. (xy) If we disagree, it becomes: (-xy), with the minus sign representing negativity or disagreement. When we add the positive, or agreement part, we have: +(-xy), which is the same as -xy. We still end up with disagreement! So we've just wasted a few precious moments on trying to put a positive spin on disagreeing. It happens. People disagree all the time. Live with it.

I also get frustrated when people mention they don't want to "beat a dead horse" by revisiting a topic that has been brought up more than once and that most people figured was over. If it's bothering you so much, you just have to bring it up again, wait until after the meeting, and address the issue with anyone who will listen, which is probably going to be no one since no one cares and the issue was already resolved. Don't rock the boat! (That's a cliché I actually like.)

Someone discussed "not wanting to reinvent the wheel." Okay fine. I understand. You don't want to create something new from scratch or keep doing some redundant task. I get it. But comparing this to the invention of the wheel? Get over yourself. Next to chocolate covered Nutter Butters and the "delete" key, the wheel is the all-time greatest invention ever. Your little idea about how to visually merchandise the grey sweaters with the charcoal sweaters is not going to radically change the planet, so get over yourself.

All this being said, I have one expression I do love: "No problem!" Just repeat that over and over again...

Check out It's Not Rocket Science: and Other Irritating Modern Clichés by Clive Whichelow or Death Sentences: How Clichés, Weasel Words, and Management-speak are Strangling Public Language by Don Watson.

Tim P.
Smithville Branch

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