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A new study reveals that half of our conversation consists of cliches. I know some of you are thinking, “Duh!” while others are saying, “Do ya’ think?” I hate to be a Debbie Downer but tired phrases drive me bananas.

Since I was knee-high to a grasshopper I’ve fought tooth and nail against the use of hackneyed expressions. All they do is gum up the works. When I try to read a clich-filled article, I feel like a babe in the woods who can’t see the forest for the trees.

This is why I try like the dickens to use fresh expressions. It’s not like I’m some Johnny-come-lately when it comes to using the King’s English. I’ve been cutting the mustard for 22 years. I don’t beat around the bush; I call a spade a spade. If necessary, I’ll even get down to brass tacks.

Why? Because it dawned on me that our language is going to hell in a hand basket. For example, during our primary election coverage, I didn’t say so-and-so threw his hat in the ring. And I certainly didn’t write that he was clean as a hound’s tooth, because no politician is that clean. I simply stated that elections were meant to separate the sheep from the goats.

As for the voters, I think it’s time we separate the men from the boys. To see such a low turnout on an 80-degree day sets my teeth on edge. This should have been a red-letter day, but there was a yawning gulf between the number of registered voters and those who made last-ditch effort to get to the polls.

Don’t the non-voters realize we’re all in the same boat? As a member of the fourth estate, I can’t fiddle while Rome burns. I have to throw caution to the wind and take umbrage at their apathy. If the hoi polloi want to settle for a hand-to-mouth existence, they should vote with their feet and move out of Forest Park.

Sorry, I don’t want to start a battle royal; I’m simply speaking from the bottom of my heart. I don’t care who wears the pants in a family, being a responsible citizen cannot be put on the back burner. If we try to pass the buck, we’ll end up paying through the nose.

As we all know, life isn’t a bowl of cherries, unless you’re born with a silver spoon in your mouth. Forest Parkers are salt-of-the-Earth people, who put their shoulder to the wheel. Even when they’re worn to a frazzle, or under the weather, they work their butts off.

Whether we’re bright-eyed and bushy-tailed or have one foot in the grave, there are few towns that can hold a candle to Forest Park.

John Rice is a columnist/private detective, who has seen his business and family thrive in Forest Park. He thoroughly enjoys life in the village and still gets a thrill smelling Red Hots, watching softball and strolling through cemeteries.