We all know catchphrases that just make us batshit crazy when we hear them. There are those phrases like “Get ‘er done” or anything ending in “izzle” that makes any non-mouthbreather’s skin crawl. But there are also those sayings and platitudes that flip a person’s internal bitch switch faster than a fat kid can eat an ill-gotten Twinkie.
I once got grounded for agreeing with my mother by saying “no joke.” I knew a guy who would go on a five minute tirade about how same things can’t be different every time he heard someone say “same difference.” I had a teacher who didn’t allow us to say something “sucked” so we got around it by saying a particular something “inhaled deeply through a straw.” I am sorry to say I was the one who came up with that particular gem. And I’m sorrier still for sharing that story with strangers.
Anyway, the point is, we all hear seemingly innocuous catchphrases, sayings, and clichés that make us want to smack the speaker in the mouth (with a ball-peen hammer) for being dismissive, idiotic, or just plain rude. The following are a few of those small-talk filler statements that tempt me to test the legal flexibility of justifiable homicide.
#5 “You Look like You’re Sick/Tired.”
People who say this insensitive sentence to other human beings should be sexually assaulted by a rabid gorilla so they can see, first-hand, what tired and unwell really looks like. Oh sure, you meant it to sound as though you’re concerned for my well-being, but what you actually said was, “Whoa. Did somebody beat the shit out of you with the ugly stick this morning? And then perhaps drag you behind their car for a country mile? I only ask because I care. And because you look like something David Lynch might have nightmares about.”
I’m not trying to say someone who appears to be under the weather or overly tired should be ignored. I’m just saying if they are already obviously not at their best, kicking them when they’re down is probably not the best way to show how much you care. A simple “How are you today?” works just fine. People, in general, love to talk about themselves, especially when in need of sympathy. It takes very little prompting for most people to blather on incessantly about how they got sick from the snot-nosed barista at Starbucks who sneezed in their mocha latte, or how they weren’t able to sleep the night before due to some disturbing fears about gorilla rape. There is no need for such a direct and rude observation. Most people can’t wait to complain about how they feel anyway.
#4 “You’re So Skinny You Make Me Sick.”
Before you decide this is me gloating by using this phrase as an example of horrible things people say regularly with no thought as to what they are actually communicating, just hear me out. “You are so skinny you make me sick” is not the polite commentary people pretend it is.
It’s probably the most back-handed compliment I’ve ever heard. It is passive aggressive and mean-spirited. It’s said to build someone up and knock them down at the same time. It allows the speaker to say something cruel, guilt-free, by covering it in a cheap layer of nice. You might as well just say “I can’t stomach the sight of you, but that’s a lovely blouse.” There is no difference.
By using this phrase, you’ve just told me something about my physical appearance causes your gag reflex to go into panic mode. If you don’t believe me, change the adjective. Does “You’re so fat you make me sick.” seem like the right thing to say to someone you don’t want punching you in the face? It’s horrible to claim disgust over anyone’s physical attributes, whether these are desired characteristics or not. But it is worse that people actually need this to be explained to them.
#3 “This Will Only Hurt a Little.”
Horseshit. I believe that little lie told by every doctor on the planet (it’s probably taught on the first day of med school, right after they learn how to make a speculum frostbite cold) is the foundation behind so many people’s fear of the doctor. We know it’s a lie when you tell us, and if we can’t trust our doctor to be honest with us, who can we trust? Patients should be able to file and win a malpractice lawsuit against any doctor who says it.
Why don’t you just tell us the truth, Doc? Something like “Everyone’s pain threshold is different. So this might hurt like the fire of 1,000 suns, or it may be like your wedding night and you won’t feel a thing. Possible somewhere in the middle.” Or just tell us you don’t fucking know. Tell us to shut up and stop crying like a baby in a two-day-old diaper. At least you’re being honest with us. That honesty won’t change the pain level, but thinking about what a dick you are might serve as a small distraction.
#2 “I’ll be There in Just a Sec.”
Yeah, no you won’t. Not unless you have harnessed the power of teleportation, or you are already right next to me and I’m an oblivious fucking moron who doesn’t notice people standing beside me.
This is such a bullshit throwaway phrase that positively everyone seems to use. It’s completely meaningless, and it gives the impression that you don’t really care about the person waiting on you. If that’s not the case, then uttering this statement of dismissal is probably not the best use of your words. Be at your destination when you say you’re going to be there, and if that’s not possible, have the maturity to give an actual time frame for your arrival.
If you are the kind of person who expects everyone else to do things according to your timetable, then swap that nonsense phrase for “I’ll be there when I get there.” This way, you won’t continue to be a dismissive liar, and people will no longer curse you for the irresponsible shitbag you actually are. They’ll just curse you for the asshole you also are.
#1 “I’m So Wasted.”
Ummm…no fucking duh. I do not actually need you to inform me of your sobriety level. I can pretty well guess it since this sentence is being slurred at me while you look between your legs at me, from the floor, because you fell off your barstool onto your head. Also, the way you provocatively danced with the aforementioned barstool, until you were asked to stop because “Applebee’s is a family place,” was also a bit of a tip off.
I feel it also behooves me to mention, the part where you asked everyone you saw, and some people more than once, if they wanted to help you build a human pyramid in the bathroom, was kind of a giveaway. And if that hadn’t already clued me in, I would have been convinced of your intoxication when you were sobbing into your margarita, completely inconsolable, and thirty seconds later you were pumping your fist to “Sweet Caroline” like you hadn’t just drunk dialed your ex-boyfriend.
There’s no need for a play-by-play of your liver damage. I know you’re drunk. EVERYONE knows you’re drunk. By the way, I think that family you “gifted” with lap dances may press charges.