Tag Archives: cliches

Postage from PETA

To Whom it May Concern:

My name is Sunflower Smith and I am the communications liaison for PETA-People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

I’m writing you today (on this 105-percent fair trade paper with an animal-free pencil I carved from repurposed oak that passed from natural causes) to express our collective opinion—no, our stance—that several common clichés be banned from the English language.

Why? Because of the cruelty towards animals that they reflect.

Language is a very powerful tool, and by suggesting that one “beats a dead horse” or that it’s “cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey,” people are reinforcing barbaric behavior.

We have a comprehensive list we would like to submit. For example, “The early bird gets the worm.” Yes, the bird gets fresh food, but what no one talks about is what happens to the early worm. Death! That’s what happens to the worm!

I’ll shoot you that list via email next week.

But today I would like to use cats as our most pressing concern. Not only are they often mentioned being “on a hot tin roof”—disturbing for both the fact that they are roaming outdoors and that they’re being forced to endure harsh conditions—but they are also said to have “nine lives,” which we all know just isn’t the case.

However, the repetition of that phrase has led people to place felines in the linguistic lagoon of doom through a reinforced order of cliché operations, working under the assumption that they will survive.

Example A: “No room to swing a cat.” Why can’t you say, “No room to swing a toddler?” They like swinging much more than cats. Or just say that there’s not that much room? Exactly. Laziness.

Example B: “Let the cat out of the bag.” Why is the cat placed in a bag? Are there air holes? Death!

Example C: “Cat got your tongue?” Although we admire the tenacity of the cat in fighting back, we disagree with the notion that cats are violent creatures that seek physical revenge. They most likely would just choose to ignore you.

Example D: “More than one way to skin a cat.” I don’t even know where to begin with this one. Instead I’m choosing to use the phrase, “There is more than one way to brush a cat,” as you can do it the traditional way or you can directly apply the lint roller and cut out the middleman. No death! No hair! Win-win!

Example E: “Curiosity killed the cat.” So being inquisitive is a negative thing that should carry a warning of death? Without curiosity, we wouldn’t have new ideas or covers for electrical sockets! We prefer the phrase, “Curiosity enlightened the cat.”

You know what killed it? Putting it in a bag or swinging it around! (See above.)

So as you can see, these are just a few of our feline examples. Next we will have to address things like, “Killing two birds with one stone.” First of all, when in history was there an overabundance of birds and a shortage of stones? Second, death!

This is obviously a very pressing matter that requires your attention as soon as possible. Together we can reprogram the collective public belief that cruelty towards animals is okay when used to try and express a vapid human sentiment.

In other words, we can “teach an old dog new tricks.”*

Thank you for your time,


*We approve of this phase because it reflects our belief that canines exhibit the intellectual power to learn additional skills at an advanced age. While humans might not be as smart, we hope to at least shape the young minds of the future.

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Avoid Clichés Like the Plague

There is no shortage of inspirational quotes or tired clichés on the Internet, and I have to admit that I’m guilty of occasionally using them myself.


But most of the time I’m much more Abby-like, putting my own spin on conventional wisdom and taking the lion’s share of the credit (see what I did there? Picking up what I’m putting down?)

So sit back, relax and, you know, take what I say with a grain of salt.

Another day, another dollar that won’t be accepted in the self-checkout lane register despite the fact that only one tiny little corner of the bill is slightly wrinkled.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but if you throw it hard enough, it can pretty much repel anyone in any profession.

Dance like nobody is watching, unless you’re in the grocery store and “Footloose” comes on. At that point, performing the role of Ren is generally frowned upon (although they are only encouraging this behavior by playing that song in the store.)

Be the change you want to see in the world. By that I mean change the freaking roll of toilet paper or paper towel when there’s only one sheet left, you heathen.

Birds of a feather flock together and usually decide to use my Blazer as their own personal overpriced outhouse.

Misery loves company, which is why I prefer to stay away from people when possible.

Sometimes you’re the windshield. Sometimes you’re the bug. Most often you’re the driver behind the windshield trying like hell to pump the windshield wipers and clean off the splattered bug guts.

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and wear huge shoes so people think they’re tracking the Bigfoot.

A watched pot never boils, but if you turn your back for five seconds it will boil over and make a mess of your stove.

Good fences make good neighbors, as they don’t judge when I do my Saturday morning walk of shame to the trash can in my pajamas to throw away the cat litter or chase off the freaking woodchuck.

Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today, unless it’s something unpleasant that someone else might just do before you. In that case, carry on.

Slow and steady wins the race—except races in which the point is to finish first, which is basically most races.

Do one thing every day that scares you, unless that involves going to Wal-Mart on a Saturday afternoon and possibly being sexually harassed by exposed ass cracks and muffin tops. (Pick a different challenge that day.)

It is never too late to be what you might have been, unless your goal was to be a child prodigy or unicorn, in which case you’re basically screwed.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. That also means your bitchiness isn’t a mood, but rather your personality.

Do as I say, not as I—hell, you should probably just do what I say and be done with it. Leave you own new clichés in the comments.

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