Hey there, welcome back… it’s been a while. Are you still a club soda or would you rather have something stronger? No, no, club soda’s fine, no law says you have to have a drink-drink. In fact, I wish that clown down the end would switch to club soda. Talk about hot air, this guy’s a sandstorm.
Lemon instead of lime, right? Here ya’ go. Damn, he’s calling me again, I’ll be back…
Well, get a load of this. Our man just ordered another round and guess how he said it? “Sprinkle the infield!” What’s the expiration date on that one, 1982? That’s as bad as, “And my father will have…” or, “As long as you’re in the neighborhood, bartender.” Christ, I feel like I’m in a time warp.
Meanwhile, have you ever wondered where all these phrases come from? In other words, who the actual person was to first come up with a word or a line that stuck? Man, I have. Because someone had to say it first, right? Someone had to utter some pithy pearl which, before the week was out, was quoted all over his town and later the world. Think about it. Someone had to first say, “Sprinkle the infield,” which is cute the first time you hear it, then bingo! it becomes a staple forever in saloon-speak. For what, thanks to this guy down the end, almost thirty years? And then outside of saloon-peak, what about the phrase, “Get your shit together”? Who in the hell invented and made that stick? And it wasn’t Tom Hanks’s character in Forrest Gump, either. It had to be a well known hippie somewhere, plugged into some kind of social network, and here we are in 2010 still “getting our shit together”.
And, “Tell it like it is,” that’s another one. I mean someone came up with that offbeat phrase back in the nineteen sixties, which found its way into mainstream rap til Howard Cossell, getting down with his ever bad self, grabbed the phrase by the lapels and shook the life out of it. But hey, there’s still a television series called “Like It Is”.
And what about this, my friend… the simple, harmless word, “whatever”? How did that get legs. That was also huge in the sixties… the cool breeze answer to a question… but who first gave that little word all that heft? Anyway, I’m probably boring the shit out of you here with all these age-old references, but that’s what comes to mind when I hear, “sprinkle the infield”. Where’d it come from? Who said it?
What’s that? Oh yeah, television definitely has something to do with it and Wall Street I’m told too. Some pin-stripe comes up with a new way to phrase and puts it on line in a newsletter… something like, “I’m on board, large!”… and before the end of the day everyone’s “large!” But television, you’re right, that’s the main source. I heard Joan Walsh from Salon.com the other day on Hardball with Chris Mathews and she used the word “paradigm” in her answer. Good for her, good word. But before the hour was over, two other guests had used the word and I believe Chris Mathews himself was guilty of three. Then it popped up all week long all over that network. They’re like lemmings, these guys, I swear. And “narrative”… narrative’s another hot one they can’t get enough of. In fact, following that narrative, what about, “Walk it back”? That’s the very latest from the punditry echo chamber. They use that phrase whenever a politician “mis-speaks”. Which is daily. The politician doesn’t “take it back” now he “walks it back”. Hell, given the political landscape these days and the overuse of that phrase, more shit’s getting walked back than Jackson’s moon walk!
What did you say? Oh, without question, TV sit-coms are the absolute spawning ground for catch phrases. I mean thanks to Larry David… someone I consider a comedic genius… we never “figure things out” these days we “do the math.” Jesus is that overdone! What the hell gets into people, do they really think it’s cool plagiarizing cool? It’s like stealing someone’s jacket and then wearing it all over town as if no one will notice. Amazing!
Or they want everyone to notice, it ties them into the show. You know, “I used to watch Seinfeld, therefore I’m cool!” Reflected glory.
Good point, man, good point. Hey, you seem to be up on this stuff, you wanna’ have some fun til I have to go down and re-prime that human cliche’ pump? How about we take turns coming up with over-used catch phrases? And you have to deliver in twenty seconds or you’re out. You on board? Oops, that’s a cliche!
Yeah, I’m on board, I love stuff like this, You’re speaking to the choir.
Okay, you go first.
I just did, I said, “Speaking to the choir.”
Holy shit, you’re right, I missed that. Okay, how about this, Who’s your daddy?
Ugh, can we please give that some Closure?
Amen! But, hey, get going, man, you’re on the clock.
I just went. Closure, Closure, what’s more overdone than that?
Damn, right again, I’m asleep at the switch here. Whoa! Asleep at the switch, that’s a qualifier. Back to you!
Nice recovery, You’re nobody’s lunch meat!
I like it, I like it, now we’re rollin’. How about, “Happy camper”? Believe it or not that one’s still going strong. In fact, if I hear about one more person who’s not a happy camper I’m setting fire to the camp.”
“Let’s not go there.”
Why not? Oh, right… “Let’s not go there”… another good one. Damn, you’re fast. That one’s definitely seen its expiration date. Okay, how about this, “Back in the day,” have we had it yet with, “Back in the fucking day”?
Or, “At the end of the day”, that’s all over the place too. It’s the new “When all’s said and done”, or, “In summation.”
And “Bottom line”, that’s still being used as, “In summation.”
Hah! This whole conversation is “too much information”…almost sorry I started it! Okay, still my turn. Let’s see here… “Phone tag”, how about that? That’s what happens when you’re trying to, “Touch base.”
Whoah, man, you just used two. So I’ll have to “think outside the box“ but still “keep it real”!
Excellent! Shit, I’m drawing a blank here. Hey, what about that? I’m drawing a blank.
Sorry, pal, no dice. You got ten seconds, Sir Scribbler.
Uh… aw damn… c’mon, Scrib. Shit!
Times up, my friend, or as they say out there in Cliche’-land, the fat lady just sang!
F-u-u-u-u-c-k! All right, all right, you win, dammit. How ’bout I buy you a drink out of my own pocket?
I’m not grousing, I’m serious.
I know, I meant Grouse as in Famous Grouse… I think I’ve earned it.
Ahh, that you have, my friend, you take it neat, right?
(Over and out from Bar-land, see ya’ next week-end!)
PS: If you feel like it, dear reader, and if I’ve ignited your inner cliche’ out there, how about leaving in Comments one of your own? You know, some phrase about which you can say, been there, done that!