Saturday, August 13, 2011

Rethinking Some Clichés

I don’t want to say I have a unique perspective. I’m much more modest about it. I think of it more as… I have a warped view of things.

Sometimes expressions we use all the time just don’t make sense to me. Sometimes I feel like I can fix them, other times I think they should just be thrown out. But no matter what I determine, I can expect the same result from the rest of the world: zero notice and no actual change. It’s kind of like arguing politics, only its clichés and I’m by myself.

“Old as dirt.” Sure, some dirt is old, though very old dirt is “rock.” Some dirt is very, very new. Anyone who has ever composted knows you can make dirt that wouldn’t be old enough to enter kindergarten. I would suggest “old as rock,” but volcanoes make new rock all the time. So frankly, I’m at a loss on this one.

When times are tough, people might say, “it’s a dog eat dog world.” I think this is basically false, unless you’re Michael Vick.

I don’t like it when people say, “Money doesn’t grow on trees.” Talk about obvious. Everyone knows money comes from a “cash cow.”

It kind of bugs me when someone says, “What’s he been smoking?” If you can’t tell the difference between someone who has been smoking marijuana and someone who has been smoking crack, you’ve probably been smoking both.

“When push comes to shove” supposedly means when a situation gets more active or intense, but push and shove seem pretty much the same to me. Why not, “When push comes to punch?”

My parents used to talk about their early life without kids as, “before you were a glimmer in your father’s eye.” I never thought about it before, but does this mean my dad had semen in his eye?

“To chew someone out” means to angrily chide someone, but it sounds like what you call it when a girl who likes it rough wants oral sex. I prefer “telling someone off,” which can also be misunderstood to be a type of sex, this time with a someone who likes dirty talk.


  1. I often clarify to try to sync reality up with the idiom. For example, I once said he was "quite as a mouse," but then clarified, "not as a busy, mouse, but a mouse that is perfectly still."

    Now that you mentioned it, though, "chew someone out," is just a ridiculous statement.

  2. “Money doesn’t grow on trees.”

    Excuse me, but my grandfather was a logger. He made a fortune selling wood.

  3. Then he made money from the trees, not what grew on them. Come back when you find someone who picked fruit.

  4. "Money may not grow on trees, but an apple picker makes a living from the fruits of his labor."


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