I've been thinking. I try to do that every now and then.
This think is about clichés.
I have noticed that a lot of people, including myself, talk in cliches. When I make a statement it is not uncommon to be answered with a cliche or to answer with a cliche.
One of my favorite cliches is “Opportunity doesn't knock twice”.
When I hear those words I always wonder, why not? If it came the first time, surely it could drop in the 2nd time. What would happen if I’m in the shower and I don’t answer the door when opportunity knocks? It wouldn't be fair if opportunity only knocked once. If that were really the case then no one would ever take a shower and then what a stinking world we would have.
I know it’s just a cliché and cliché’s are just a bunch of words tossed into a pot, stirred around and then extracted by a word witch or just to be fair a word warlock. But people really do believe them and live by them.
What would happen if the word gurus stirred the pot and extracted, "Opportunity won't knock twice”? Would that change the meaning? What if the pot had popped out “opportunity only knocks once”? Would that change the meaning?
Or maybe if they forgot to tend the pot and the words just started popping out. Then the cliché might be “Opportunity knocks once, twice, three times or if you are not careful, opportunity will come knocking every night like a love stricken teenage boy mooning over your giggling teenage daughter”.
You hear the knock and you scream, “Get the hell away from my daughter!” and it turns out to be that pesky old opportunity. Then the cliché could be “opportunity keeps knocking until you chase it away with a shot gun.”
I think that cliches need to be short and to the point. Something like, “black dogs don’t talk”. You could fit that one into any conversation you want to.
Let’s say someone wants to borrow some money. All you have to say is, “They tell me that black dogs don’t talk.” You’re home free. Who in their right mind would challenge you and claim that, “black dogs do talk”?
The statement is correct. Black dogs don’t talk. They might ask, “What does ‘black dogs talking’ have to do with borrowing a buck or two?” You could continue with something like, ""I don't think white dogs can talk either' and then you have shifted the conversation to black versus white and then it will shift to politics and you won't have to worry about giving the guy a buck of two.
Most people are afraid to challenge cliches. We don’t challenge them because we do not want to admit that wew don’t have the slightest idea what you’re talking about.
I once said to a young friend of mine, “It’s tough to make ends meet”.
He thought for a minute and responded, “I guess when you do, you can barbecue them.”
I thought for my minute and said, “No, I’m going to boil them.”
He changed the subject and I wasn't sure if he was pulling my leg (there’s another one of them critters) or whether I was pulling his leg and I really didn't want to ask because, as you know “black dogs don’t talk.”