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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

If You Can Dream It, You Can Achieve It

Do you know what a platitude is? According to the final and foremost authority on everything in the world, Wikipedia, a platitude is "a trite, meaningless, biased, or prosaic statement often presented as if it were significant and original." In other words, it's that tired old saying that you hear over and over again that wasn't even funny or interesting the first time you heard it. We all someone who throws out these statement one right after the other, don't we? You know that guy? I work with that guy. He talks like he learned English from reading inspirational posters at a Hallmark shop in the mall. He's a nice guy, but just once I wish he would say something that wasn't first said by a kitten hanging from a tree limb. He calls me "brother" too. I don't like that. I have two brothers and they are free to call me brother anytime they like. I call them brother and they call me brother because we have the same parents, ergo, we are brothers. The line cook with the greasy face and greasier hair is not my brother. In other words, when I say to him, "Man, it's really busy tonight," he should not respond with, "hang in there, brother, hang in there." Here are some other nuggets of joy he has dispensed to me as he hands me an overcooked burger that I rang in as medium rare:

  • One time I brought him a cup of coffee that he asked for and he said, "You're the best, I don't care what anyone else says." (Followed by a laugh because that is so funny.)
  • When I get to work and ask "how's it going?'" he always answers with "So far so good, but the night is young." (Followed by a laugh because that is so funny.)
  • If I question how much longer it will be for a salad he will invariably say "all in good time, all in good time" or "good things come to those who wait, my friend."
  • Whenever he says thank you he follows it with "you are a gentleman and a scholar."
  • When we run out of the special and it is replaced with something else, he tells me we must "go with the flow, my man, go with the flow."
  • "It's all good" is my least favorite saying that anyone can say. It has become a catch all response for almost anything. Running late? Too hot in the kitchen? Rang in the wrong appetizer? "It's all good, my brother."
  • Once he actually said he doesn't like to assume anything because that makes an ASS out of U and ME. Yeah, that was hilarious when Walter Matthau said in in 1977 in The Bad News Bears. Today? Not so much.
  • If it's a slow night for tips, his words of encouragement for me are, "Tomorrow is another day, my man, tomorrow is another day."
  • "If you've got time to lean you've got time to clean." Really?
These may seem like minor nuisances, but it gets tiring hearing them day after day. The only thing more irritating to listen to is the regular who comes and sits at the bar and tries to break the world record for using the words "like" and "basically" in one conversation. I tried to count how many times he said "like" last week and I basically, like, could not keep up:
So like, basically, what I'm saying is like, if you basically like want to order something off of Amazon, then basically what you're doing is like taking business away from like every small mom and pop store so like basically you're essentially like putting them out of business, basically.
At my job there seems to be a lack of respect or command for language. Lord knows I can barely string threes sentences together, but the people I am surrounded by up there are pulling the English language into the depths of despair and taking me with it. I want them to try to come up with their own sentences and not rely on filler words (like, basically) and phrases that were once spewed out by an inspirational speaker they heard in the cafetorium in the seventh grade.

What is your least favorite platitude?

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SG said...

My most hated? Probably, "Well, everything happens for a reason." I heard that a lot after getting into a car accident that destroyed my spine. I always responded, "Yes, I'm sure the higher ups have some very awesome plans for me after replacing my spine with titanium and almost killing me.

Also, "Well, they're in a better place now." I heard that a lot when my grandmother died. You know what? If there's a Hell, that woman definitely ended up in it, so why don't you think of something original and thoughtful to say that might actually comfort me?

itswhatiam said...

The next time he tells you tomorrow is another day, throw your hands to your chest, and tell him "As God as my witness they're not going to lick me. I'm going to live through this and when it's all over I'll never be hungry again nor any of my folk. If I have to lie, steal, cheat or kill, as God as my witness I'll never be hungry again."

Lolamouse said...

I did a couple of "Rants" about hating "It's all good." People who say that are not being observant! I also hate "It is what it is." What the hell? What else is it? What it isn't?!! How about "Working hard or hardly working?" UGH. You have my sympathy.

Kitten with a Whisk said...

All I've got is this:

It is what it is.

Anonymous said...

Mine is "It is what it is". That phrase makes me want to chop people's heads of with a meat cleaver.

Practical Parsimony said...

Okay, mine covers an array of things, all based on one concept. I hate it when someone tells me to "pray about it." Translation--"get the hell away from me because I am not a good ear, even if the church pays me to be the minister."

"God knows best." Soooooo, he prefers that this misery be mine (or the child being molested, or the mother in pain, or the dead two year fill in the blank."

Religious platitudes, most of which do not come from the Bible but are said as if Moses brought them from the mountaintop are just plain annoying, useless, meaningless. They keep the speaker from connecting to the person to whom they are spoken. Most are shorthand for "go away so I don't have to deal with your grief/pain/problem.

Yeah, "It's all in God's plan. We don't understand now, but someday...."

Tom said...

"It is what it is" - I effing hate that one. I know someone that says it too often, so during conversation I will normally (at least once) hit them with "It only is what it is until it isn't anymore" just to blow their mind.

LordSomber said...

"There's no such thing as a stupid question." That's funny, I hear them all the time.

"The ends justify the means." Rarely they do, and if then, morally questionable.

"It's okay, they meant well." Sorry, good intentions do not absolve responsibility.

Anonymous said...

My ex-boyfriend used to talk like that. Thank you for reminding me why it's such a great thing we're not together anymore!

My least favorite platitude is, "It could be worse." Yes, I know, but it isn't so why can't you just express some normal sympathy and be done with it?

Slang said...

"Good things happen to good people" Makes me want to vomit. I've only heard it from the mouths of religious folk. As we all know, they religious folk are always good people. Just ask Warren Jeffs.

Not so much a platitude, but still annoying:
- saying "Seriously? Seriously" or "Really? Really?" in response to just about anything
- speaking every sentence with an upward inflection as if asking a question

Jesse said...

Oh, god...I am so guilty of this one. My bet is he has a similar conservative religious background to the one I was raised in. Raised that way, it's always easier to hand someone a platitude then to show real emotion, empathy, or gratitude...that feels too uncomfortable.

TacoDave said...

This post literally made my head explode. Literally.

What a mess. Anyone have a mop?

Allie said...

I have an acquaintance who barrages me with Notebook-esque quotes anytime I seem less than happy.

"Smile, you never know who falling in love with it."

If someone falls in love with me based solely on my smile, then I'm pretty sure they are a face-eater.

SharleneT said...

"There are no stupid questions." YES, there are and it's irritating to the nth degree to have to deal with people who ask them. (Ex: You have a stamped envelope in your hand, standing next to the mailbox and brilliant person says, "Are you going to mail that?") Sorry, that qualifies as a stupid question to which the ONLY response is -- wait for it! -- It is what it is.

piercme86 said...

Not for nuthin but........

Frank the Angry Lobster said...

Good lord!! I share my hatred of almost all of these platitudes. One I hate is when people say "laughter is the best medicine." No, fuckin' medicine is the best medicine. Laughter is certainly good, but it doesn't stop staph. I actually made a blog post regarding a similar subject.

alwaysarealperson said...

Give it time , time heals all wounds, the grass is always greener on the other side, all good things come in small packages, turn the other cheek , what comes around goes around, anything about karma, the bigger they are the harder they fall, patience is a virtue, when in rome.... , smile and the world will smile back, kill them with kindness, the world wasn't built in a day, age is only a number, I see no evil, hear no evil & speak no evil....

There's no way I could cover them all !

The worst is when you hear them from a parent every day !

Fuzzy said...

Something that I have sometimes caught myself saying that makes me cringe more than a little: "Well, whatta ya gonna do?" Fatalism at it's worst.

I am trying my best to never say that EVER AGAIN! As nice as it would be to absolve all responsibility with a few words, real life doesn't work that way.

Other hated speech pattens:
No problem
I know, right?

Joe Sixtop said...

"Don't shit where you eat, my brother, don't shit where you eat"
is by far my favorite. Seriously.

Anonymous said...

I despise it when people say "I could care less."
Stupid. STUPID. clearly you couldn't care less about speaking English.

Christie said...

Along the lines of like & basically, I get very irritated when I hear, "Uhmmmmm". I had a boss who would use it in meeting with clients, over and over. I have since read something that said that some speakers use it to allow for the audience to be able to take in what was just said. To me it is just distracting and all I heard was, "Uhmmmm."

DH-H said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DH-H said...

I hate it when young women claim to be 'one strong lady'.

I hate 'all's well that end's well', 'omg!', 'blates', 'totes' and 'it's always darkest before the dawn'.

The worst one is 'time is the great healer'. Because it's true.

Anonymous said...

Its all good makes me want to throw things at the sayer. I have a dear friend - and she really is - who says it all the time now. I think its her way of never having to actually make people be accountable. Someone at work will do something kinda stupid and she'll say, "Oh, its all good!" and I'll say, "uh, no its not. If we don't stop this, she'll do it again. And what she is doing is definitely NOT good!"

nolalola said...

"It is what it is." Everybody at my restaurant says this when they've taken 2 after-hours reservations for DEUCES so now we ALL have to stay late because 4 motherfuckers can't get in during business hours, or if they tell us to get a table in our station ready for a 12-top stretcher and then when the assholes are brought to the table we have to break it down because they are only FOUR FUCKING PEOPLE. "It is what it is" is the absolute worst nothing line.

Anonymous said...

"That's what she said!"
"I mean, really?"
"It is what it is."
"You know religious people."

I hate most people.

suzybel56 said...

I'm a bit late but I hate this one:"at the end of the day"...this guy I know injects that into the conversation at least once a day.