I hope you’re A-OK. Otherwise, abandon hope all ye who enter here, because I just received The Dictionary of Clichés for my birthday. According to Hoyle, a cliché can be a writer’s ace in the hole. Others see cliché-use as the Achilles’ heel of the hack.
Well, here’s the acid test. It’s true that actions speak louder than words, but writers have traditionally used words. The problem is, with all due respect to old-fashioned out-of-touch people like myself, many do not understand my words. You mention that the electric bill is an albatross around your neck and they say, “What? That’s all Greek to me.”
For example, I have a young assistant who’s still wet behind the ears and I try to tell her the reason she’s so is because when it rains it pours. This may have been food for thought but she couldn’t stomach it. It goes without saying that she couldn’t get to the bottom of what I was talking about. She thinks I’m my own worst enemy when I start talking through my hat like that. But if she had any horse sense, she wouldn’t forget her umbrella in my car.
Honest to goodness, I don’t want to talk in circles. I’d rather talk turkey. But when you’re an old fuddy-duddy, people think you’ve gone off the deep end just because your phrases are old hat. I take umbrage at this attitude. I’m telling you, more or less, that there’s more than one way to skin a cat.
I know, we don’t actually skin cats, even when they’re on their last legs. But we can still make the fur fly by going at it hammer and tongs. Sure, we have to mind our Ps and Qs if we’re going to see eye to eye. Why be a wet blanket, though? When all is said and done, we need to go haywire and let the chips fall where they may.
Otherwise, clichés will become as scarce as hen’s teeth. If that happens, we might as well pack it in because our salad days will be over. My lips will be sealed and they’ll be ringing down the curtain. My words won’t be worth a plugged nickel.
Before we reach this point of no return, we need to pull out all the stops. You can call me on the carpet for using clichés but you can’t pull the rug out from under my words. I’ve been using catch phrases since I was knee high to a grasshopper and I’m not going to throw out the whole kit and caboodle.
Maybe the name of the game is to use more modern expressions when we’re blowing off steam. That may sound fishy but I’m telling you: it is what it is.