For a while now I’ve been a bit troubled by something I just think of as ‘the things we say.’ It’s probably just the old English teacher in me coming out, but I can’t seem to help it. If you don’t mind, I’d like to share a few of those things with you and maybe ‘cry on your shoulder’ a bit. Okay, so maybe a bit of whining will be done too.
Anyway, the ‘things’ I’m referring to are simply catchwords or phrases that have caught on and lodged themselves in our collective consciousness. Then they simply find their way out through our mouths and get caught in the minds and vocabularies of others.
Now, hopefully without insulting other writers or politicians or news people, or maybe your recent conversation participants, I would like to take a moment to challenge people to simply stop parroting other people to the point that it drives me out of my mind if you don’t mind. Okay, now I’ll start the genuine whining.
Truthfully, if I hear one more newscaster or reporter talk about ‘brick and mortar’ buildings I think I’m going to seek serious hours of therapy. What the heck? Brick and mortar? Why not wood and shingles, granite and slate, steel and marble, or any other combination of building materials? Or, maybe we could just say the word ‘buildings’, and assume that people might know what that word means.
The next phrase I’d like to enumerate among the relentlessly repeated is the world-wide, resounding, ‘At the end of the day.’ Wow, I really hate this one. It’s just strange enough and corny enough to let the entire world know that the person saying it has not the slightest morsel of imagination or originality between their ears. If you don’t believe me, try this little experiment. Tune in to one talk show, one news program, or one politician on TV for more than a few moments and listen for it. I can pretty much guarantee that you won’t get through a half-hour of news reporting or political analysis (notice the word anal is in there) without hearing ‘at the end of the day.’
Next in my list of sayings that I feel would be better off not said is, ‘It is what it is.’ Yes… my friend… it is what it is. OF COURSE it is what it is. Whatever it is, what else in the world COULD it be? (Pulling my hair out!)
To continue down my raving path of whines, the following must be the strangest, dumbest, oft’ but only recently repeated set of words I have ever encountered. Check out the news, the weather, sports reporting, or probably your favorite cooking show and you will hear the admonition: ‘It’s in your wheelhouse.’ What? It’s in my what? I didn’t even know I HAD a wheelhouse. Wow!
Now we might, and will, briefly discuss a short phrase that you and I have heard on the national news. (Notice that most of these things occur on the news?, no coincidence there.) Those people probably have to discuss the mess our nation is in, but for some reason must often say ‘let’s unpack it’, when maybe they should just read the news, or, better yet, leave it packed up. They also frequently talk about someone throwing shade. I think you can throw light on a subject, but I don’t know how you could throw shade.
Also, seemingly everyone discusses the idea of ‘reaching out.’ Reaching out? Really? Whatever you do, kindly avoid reaching out for me. I like my own ‘personal space,’ ‘my own bubble,’ if you don’t mind.
Perhaps my problem with all of this is because I’m from a time when ‘cool’ was the new word. That one, along with it’s opposite, ‘hot’ seem to be here to stay, even though they now mean the same thing. “That’s a cool car!” “That’s a hot car!” ‘Back in the day’ we said things like that, even though both seem pretty ‘old school’ now. I still think those words are kind of ‘groovy,’ but I’d never say so in public.
We also might have had a partner back then, but we didn’t ‘partner’ with anyone, preferring to leave the word a noun, instead of making it into a verb. Dang, that irritates my brain’s grammar muscle.
At this point I’m going to ‘shutter’ my feelings a bit and will attempt to ‘throw no more shade’ at sayings like ‘throw no shade.’ We live in a world of new and old, colorful, if overused, catchphrases. Maybe I just need to ‘get with the program.’ After all, when all is said and done, for all intents and purposes, when push comes to shove, when we cut to the chase, at the end of the day, it is what it is.