I hear trite sayings all the time.
October 6, 2001 10:41 PM   Subscribe

I hear trite sayings all the time. Sometimes they're smart and funny, sometimes they bug the crap out of me. Here's one that has always bugged me: "No matter where you go, there you are." Anybody else have a saying they like or dislike? My newest favorite: "Always listen to your parents-even if they're in jail." Please share...
posted by ashbury (48 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I particularly dislike this one: "It's the thought that counts." Well, sure, the thought's all well and good, but if you didn't follow through then it just sort of rings hollow...
posted by philulrich at 10:52 PM on October 6, 2001

"If a bar has human ears nailed to the wall, don't pass out there."
posted by TacoConsumer at 10:56 PM on October 6, 2001

My 3 least favorite:

"Sir, please step out of the car."
"You have the right to remain silent."
"Will the defendant please rise?"
posted by Optamystic at 11:10 PM on October 6, 2001

Most annoying is probably: "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion". It appeals to our sense of fair play and is a handy way to end a discussion that's at an impasse. Nonetheless, it's simplistic tripe and Harlan Ellison provides an amended version:

"We are not entitled to our opinions; we are entitled to our INFORMED opinions."

posted by RavinDave at 11:12 PM on October 6, 2001

Four of my personal favorites:

"If you can't say anything nice, say it loudly and often."
"Never argue with a fool; he may be doing the same thing."
"Half the people you know are below average."
"Accept that some days you're the pigeon, and some days you're the statue."

Collected for your enjoyment from the far reaches of the internet. (I can't remember where or I would link it)
posted by pheideaux at 11:31 PM on October 6, 2001

One of my new favorites from a Drew Carey rerun:

"It's like my old man used to say, 'The day I can't do my job drunk, is the day I hang up my badge and gun."
posted by Whistlepig at 11:37 PM on October 6, 2001

Behold, the fool saith, "Put not all thine eggs in the one basket"--which is but a manner of saying, "Scatter your money and your attention"; but the wise man saith, "Put all your eggs in the one basket and--watch that basket!"

- Mark Twain, from Pudd'nhead Wilson
posted by raysmj at 11:58 PM on October 6, 2001

My father always says this:

For every mile of road there's two miles of ditch. Usually followed quickly by: Stay out of them!
posted by Hildegarde at 12:03 AM on October 7, 2001

As an old ELO album used to say, "You can tune a piano, but you can't tuna fish."

If you love something, set it free.
He who dies with the most toys wins.
To have a friend, you have to be a friend.
Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.
posted by timothompson at 12:09 AM on October 7, 2001

Er, the Tune a Piano album is from REO Speedwagon.
posted by milnak at 12:18 AM on October 7, 2001

"If a bar has human ears nailed to the wall, don't pass out there."

Especially if the ears are still attached to their original owners.

("Let's just have a coupla drinks here and then move on - the ears freak me, I wouldn't want to pass out here or nothin'")

"There are two kinds of people in the world - the ones who divide the world into two kinds of people and the ones who don't."
posted by Grangousier at 12:26 AM on October 7, 2001

Southerners get ragged on a lot for their speech. It's attributed to laziness, but since that's my heritage I prefer to think of it as efficiency. After all, it takes fewer words and syllables to say "fetch me the hammer" than it does to say "get the hammer and bring it to me". But I think what makes Southern speech truly entertaining are the metaphors. There are literally thousands of sayings that get passed down through generations and shared in the community, which lend a richness and diversity of expression that I miss out here in California. A good metaphor is precise; it evokes the exact feeling the speaker is trying to convey. And the best ones are pretty funny, too. Here are a few of the better sayings, most from my Dad, a few from elsewhere, that I think are worth bringing back into common use:

You make a better door than you do a window. (You're blocking my view.)
Shoot low sheriff, they're riding chihuahuas. (Be careful.)
Stick a broom up my ass, and I'll sweep the floor while I'm at it. (I'm too busy.)
That's harder than Chinese arithmetic. (That's very difficult.)
That's about as funny as a fart in church. (Not funny.)
You're so uptight only dogs can hear you fart. (Relax, you're too nervous.)
Don't piss on my leg and then tell me it's raining. (Stop lying and tell the truth.)
Now you're cookin' with gas. (Now you've got the right idea.)
It was on there like ugly on an ape. (Something was fastened on very tight.)
Better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. (Not the best thing in the world, but OK.)
Get out there and knock the top off that grass. (Mow the lawn.)
It's going to take a month of Sundays. (This is going to take a long time.)
My stomach thinks my throat is cut. (I'm hungry.)
He was shaking like a dog passin' a peach pit. (He was very scared.)
I don't have a dog in that fight. (I'm not going to get involved in that dispute.)
Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. (Feeling well-rested and energetic.)
He could go bear huntin' with a switch. (That's a big guy.)
I won't sleep more than 10 hours worryin' about it. (I'm not concerned.)
posted by JParker at 12:57 AM on October 7, 2001

I know that this is kind of a bad post, but...

I hate that one...
posted by fooljay at 12:57 AM on October 7, 2001

how can we all be forgetting

"I may be wrong, but..." (why speak?)
"It's self-evident" Nothing is self-evident, that is contradictory to the nature of self.
posted by Robin at 1:47 AM on October 7, 2001

Half-assed links to provoke a discussion about everyone's favorite X or the times that they A'd or whether they would like to P, etc. are not good. Liquor and Beer may have been good, but it is a bad trend. Blah blah pancakes. When will this madness end!!??
posted by sylloge at 2:00 AM on October 7, 2001

Seconded, sylloge. Or thirded. Or something.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:46 AM on October 7, 2001

If you don't bring me orange juice I won't drink it.

And my personal favorite, especially when I am looking for something:

Everything's got to be somewhere......
posted by bunnyfire at 2:51 AM on October 7, 2001

Don't count your bridges before you jump them.
posted by lucien at 3:03 AM on October 7, 2001

From my husband:
Sweating worse than a whore in church.

Hotter than a fresh f___ed fox in a forest fire.

Raining harder than a cow pissing on a flat rock.

24 hours in a day, 24 beers in a case. Coincidence? I think not.

My grandmother told me this one:

Marry him not for money or riches, but for what hangs in his britches.
posted by bjgeiger at 4:12 AM on October 7, 2001

Three more:

A closed mouth gathers no foot.

A Smith and Wesson beats four aces.

Gravity is a myth, the Earth sucks.
posted by bjgeiger at 5:43 AM on October 7, 2001

I'm printing this thread.
My favourite saying is Enquanto o pau vai e vem, folgam as costas.(Literal translation: "While the stick comes and goes, our back takes a holiday")

This Portuguese saying, though untranslatable, means: In the interval between getting whacked and getting whacked again (while the rod is withdrawing for the next onslaught)there is one hell of a lovely moment, no matter how whupped and whipped you have been, to relax. So enjoy!)

I.e., between two IRS notices; two jilted-lover letters; two exams; two Mefi flames, etc.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 6:12 AM on October 7, 2001

The Southern expressions are great. One of my favorites: "He's as crooked as a dog's leg."

My niche covers misquoted expressions. Two are especially common: "Love of money is the root of all evil", rendered as "Money is the root of all evil", and "The proof of the pudding is in the eating" rendered as "The proof is in the pudding". These are from the Bible and Shakespeare respectively.
posted by wpeyton at 6:50 AM on October 7, 2001

More great Southern expressions on MSNBC. The story reads: "For much of his adult life, Wilder has been on a crusade to round up and preserve samples of the disappearing southern dialect, and the pamphlets and guidebooks he has produced for “Yankees and visitors from other foreign parts” have qualified him as a kind of expert. He has often appeared on radio programs around the state and the country, called upon to translate such obscure phrases as “out like Lottie’s left eye” and “drunk as Cooter Brown.”
posted by wpeyton at 7:15 AM on October 7, 2001

Never judge a man until you've walked a mile in his shoes... Then you're a mile away, and you have his shoes, so you can say whatever you want.
posted by Jairus at 7:27 AM on October 7, 2001

Enquanto o pau vai e vem, folgam as costas

Miguel: my portuguese speaking girlfriend had a slightly different translation of that phrase that totally changes the meaning.
a "pua" is not the kind of thing one mentions in polite company
posted by eyere at 7:47 AM on October 7, 2001

"Words cannot express. . . " written in a zillion crappy greeting cards.
posted by DBAPaul at 7:59 AM on October 7, 2001

'well, fuck me running' apparently connotes surprise in arkansas. the literal mental image it evokes is occasionally worth hearing my southern friend say it a dozen times a day!
posted by quonsar at 8:13 AM on October 7, 2001

Trite Me is Steve (Howard the Duck) Gerber's collection of annoying cacth phrases (a bit outdated & no longer maintained).
posted by grumblebee at 8:38 AM on October 7, 2001

or maybe CATCH phrases.
posted by grumblebee at 8:39 AM on October 7, 2001

"If you don't ride a camel, you ain't Shi'ite" (Muslims only)
posted by Karl at 9:17 AM on October 7, 2001

horseshoes and handgernades
posted by newnameintown at 9:24 AM on October 7, 2001

hungrier than a bitch wolf with ten pups.
posted by sugarfish at 9:38 AM on October 7, 2001

Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.
posted by Oriole Adams at 9:56 AM on October 7, 2001

"Assume makes an ASS of U and ME." Ack!
posted by Carol Anne at 10:16 AM on October 7, 2001

Sugarfish - Tom Waits has a good one:

"Colder than a gut-shot bitch wolf dog with nine suckin' pups pulling a #4 trap up a hill in the dead of winter in the middle of a snowstorm with a mouth full of porcupine quills."
posted by Hildago at 10:43 AM on October 7, 2001

Quonsar, isn't that "fuck me a runnin'"? That's the way I usually hear it (here in Arkansas). Most of us here wear shoes and don't own any overalls. I just want that out in the open.

The country quote were fun. Here are a few I'd rather never hear again (not necessarily southern/country):

1. "shit fire" or the longer version "shit fire and save the matches" (just an explitive--doesn't really mean anything literally).
2. "won't someone think of the children?" (the favorite slogan of censors and prudes the world wide).
3. "he's just gomming around" (i.e. mucking about).

But here are a few I like:
1. If beer would do it, it'd get done (i.e. sitting on your ass isn't going to help finish the job).
2. Can't died in a cornfield (i.e. negative thinking/talk won't help).
posted by wheat at 12:35 PM on October 7, 2001

If someone WERE thinking of the children, he would say"shoot fire"....at least that's what the grownups said when I was within earshot in my younger days.......
posted by bunnyfire at 1:44 PM on October 7, 2001

eyere: Lol. That gives it a whole new meaning! In Brazilian and African Portuguese it can also mean what I think you're meaning. A bit like "rod" in Victorian English, no? But the original saying is less explicit, to say the least.

P.S. Though I must confess it is used in erotic conversation, between consenting partners, even here in the old country. "Porra" also means big stick and that's really rude. In Portugal it means ze penis, in Brazil I think it means ze ejaculate.

Also see "cacete" and other synonyms...
posted by MiguelCardoso at 2:56 PM on October 7, 2001

"looks like the iron in your blood turned to lead in your ass." - said to me on a summer job when I sat down.
posted by hotdoughnutsnow at 2:58 PM on October 7, 2001

"A man can't fool with the Golden Rule in a crowd that don't play fair"...specially in these days of 'rules of engagement'. And for those folk who never seem to listen:"Are your ears painted on"? is very nice.
posted by Mack Twain at 3:55 PM on October 7, 2001

Some Southern Charm Is Wearing Off: It's the Unique Way It Sounds "Roy Wilder Jr. doesn't want the Earth and the moon tied up with two strands of bobwire, and he believes you should never insult an alligator until you've crossed the stream, but it vexes him that most southerners today don't know pea turkey about how to jaw like a native." Sue Ann Pressley, Washington Post.
posted by Carol Anne at 3:56 PM on October 7, 2001

It drives me nuts when someone says, "I could care less." What they really mean to say is, "I couldn't care less." Obviously (to me, anyway) the former means that the speaker cares somewhat while the latter means that the speaker cares so little that they couldn't possibly care less than they do. So please don't say that you could care less--unless you could.
posted by khisel at 6:03 PM on October 7, 2001

"I could care less" is sarcastic ("as if i could care less").
posted by kindall at 6:31 PM on October 7, 2001

"I'll pull out in time."
posted by dong_resin at 2:57 AM on October 8, 2001

"It's eleven o'clock. Do you know where your children are?"
posted by Hildegarde at 10:10 AM on October 9, 2001

"I could care less" is sarcastic ("as if i could care less").

I expect they mean I could care less...by I don't. But if they mean that, they should SAY that. What they're actually saying is they care. I agree it's very annoying. I mean, you could instead say, Like I care, or here's a quarter, call someone who cares. There are so many ways to say I don't care that are more fun than I could care less I have no patience for that particular sloppy usage, myself.
posted by Hildegarde at 10:32 AM on October 9, 2001

"You can't have everything. Where would you put it?"

(or: "Imagine having to dust it all.")
posted by Grangousier at 10:43 AM on October 9, 2001

Once, when I was in high school, I got a few cliches all jumbled up in my head, and as a result I declared that someone was "Crazier than a church-house squirrel." I (and the person I said it to) still use that phrase today. We will also describe something (like, say, a sandwich) as being mediocre by saying "Well, it ain't no Tremors, that's for sure." Not sure how we got started saying that.

The other day someone was trying to describe to me how stupid they looked in a situation, and said "There I was, lookin' like a monkey trying to fuck a football." Hmm.
posted by Shadowkeeper at 3:46 PM on October 19, 2001

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