Nov 6, 2014

War against the cliché

As a writer, semiqualified-patron-of-the-written-word, if there’s something I hate, it’s the cliché. (Thank you keyboard, took me forever to put an accent on top of 'cliche')
We’ve put people on the moon and mars, cars are driving themselves and the word “selfie” has made its way to the Oxford dictionary, and we’re still articulating through words and terms that have been used since the Romans ruled, and that do nothing but advertise how interesting and original you are.
Day after day, one’s subjected to the churning of the dreaded cliché in one way or the other. Celebrated even.

Here're some classics:

“I love being comfortable in my own skin/ My style is all about comfort”: Hey high profile 1 crore-for-a-brand-endorsement model, you’re not comfortable in your skin. I can see right through those layers of your latest SheMura CC cream, primer and bronzer. Your outfits are not exactly the portrait of comfort in that $434 outfit from Armani. I bet those underwires, and the soul-crushing tummy tucker, hurt like a bitch at the end of the day!
How about some originality and being specific “I like loose skirts that accentuate my calves and hide my thunder thighs”

“I’m just here to learn”- Spewed soveryoften at an interview. If i were the interviewer, I’d reject you right through. Look man, I’m not paying you a hefty salary every month so that you can “learn”. How about join some online courses that help you do just that? Please contribute to the Organization from what you’ve learnt already.

“I am single by choice”: I don’t get why every single person on earth feels the need to justify this, asked or not. All I’m asking is if you have a significant other in your life ( so that I can decide whether to hit on you or not, and if you're same sex, if I can hook you up with this amazing guy I have in mind), not a discourse on how you’re the picture of happiness and ultimate-not-mainstreamness by being single.

“How’re you?” |”I’m fine”-  Difficult to track its origins, but suffice to say that this phrase has been popular for about 1000+ years now. Research shows that 9/10, the reply is going to be “fine” and if the person is also nice enough, there will be a “fine..and you?” but in my 26 years of living, I’m yet to come across a reply to a how’re you that wasn’t a fine. If you must insist on asking the cliche question instead of a more specific “hey, I’m pinging you to help me with something that you’d think I’m too cheap to remember you only for”, how about some real replies like “I was fine till july, but then my cat died and I got fired, so I’m somewhere in the middle of being heartbroken, and hopeful that this chick and I might be on to something”

“I’m fun loving” : That’s offbeat. The rest of us just watch the “the killing” 5 times a day, trip on how morbid it is, and raise a toast to our unhappiness with bitter-gourd juice

“She/he/they/I am so nice”- Unless you’re a serious killer, or THAT guy who brings a 3yr old to the movies, it’s safe to assume, that everyone, in general is “nice”. Niceness is more a state of “being nice” (about something), rather than a quality to ascribe to someone for the long term. Surely you've had your bitchy moments, when you’ve divulged all that your ex did to you in super confidentiality, surely you’ve once lied your way around, but you’re “nice”. How about we get a bit specific about exactly someone’s nice? “She gifted me this exotic wine from her travels, she’s nice”

“Be yourself”- If there was ever a more life changing sermon in two words I wouldn’t know of it. So you’re a booger digging, open-mouth-munching, inconvenience-causing-machine but be yourself. Question to the dispensers of this valuable life advice, how come *YOU* get to tell me to “BE MYSELF”. Catch 22, much?

“Stand out”- Nope, you don't get to preach “standing out” if you’re selling a building with 100 identical apartments! Your brand is not fair in advertising “Be different” when that dress you’re selling has found its 136 other buyers, just like me.
Show up in hot pants and a corset during the annual traditional day in your office, and we’d talk about standing out.

Come on,  join this campaign to kill the cliché and save the language and promote originality.
Avoid the cliché like the plague. Actually, no. Hell, it’s a deadly disease, who does NOT avoid the plague? Avoid the cliché like that customer care executive selling credit cards and life insurance.

On a side note, has anyone EVER bought life insurance or a credit card from one of those?

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