On being ... the perfect bromide

By Ingrid Sapona

To paraphrase Rodney Dangerfield, clichés don’t get a lot of respect. For proof of this, you need look no further than the first definition listed for cliché on Merriam-Webster.com: a trite phrase or expression. Trite? Hardly…

I love clichés. Personally, I couldn’t get through a day -- sometimes even an hour -- without them. The type of day I’m having and my mood can pretty much be summed up by the patchwork of clichés that bubble up into my consciousness. I use them to motivate myself, to chide myself, and to console myself. For me, they’re a form of therapy.

To be honest, I kind of figured everyone uses them the way I do. But, when I recently canvassed some friends about what sayings come into their heads every day, they looked at me like I was -- well, nuts. Nuts? Hardly…

So, at the risk of revealing my deepest insecurities, I hereby offer a glimpse into how clichés help me get through a normal day. Of course, because cliché therapy springs from the subconscious, the account that follows is largely stream-of-consciousness -- I leave it to you to figure out whether, at any given moment, a particular cliché serves to motivate, chide or console me.

Given that my internal clock gets me up between 5 and 6 every morning (regardless of what time I went to bed), I can’t help believe my body has taken to heart the notion that the early bird gets the worm. Some mornings I fantasize that instead of thinking about birds and worms, my day will start with the cliché about waking up and smelling the coffee, as that would mean that someone else was around to serve me a cup. I know -- that’s not what most people mean when they invoke that cliché -- but such is the beauty of clichés: they’re very versatile!

Knowing the buck stops here, soon after breakfast I’m at my desk, either doing work or, as I’ve spent more time lately, trying to find work -- after all, hope springs eternal. Oh how I hate cold calls. Now, now… hate is a big word. Besides, it’s just a numbers game. It’s not rocket science. You gotta do what you gotta do. Gotta keep working to fill the pipeline. Oh how I’d rather be sailing. Better keep my nose to the grindstone… Nero fiddled while Rome burned.

What about that client that mentioned a follow-on project? Maybe I’ll phone her… hope springs eternal. Hmm, that doesn’t sound too interesting… Well, beggars can’t be choosers. Did they say when they expect to make a decision about going ahead? Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched. Once bitten, twice shy.

Yikes, I hope I’m not in over my head. Just do it. Sink or swim… Rome wasn’t built in a day. Good thing you’re smarter than your average bear. All you can do is the best you can do…

Damn, my proposal was rejected. Talk about taking the wind out of my sails. That’s the way the cookie crumbles. Hope springs eternal? Yeah, right.

Are you sure you wouldn’t rather have a regular job? When you work for yourself, you ARE chief cook and bottle washer. Live by the sword, die by the sword. The grass is always greener on the other side.

What happens if both projects are due at the same time? Cross that bridge when you come to it. You’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

My opinion? Ok, but you have to take it with a grain of salt. That might open a can of worms. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. The best laid plans… Be careful, seems she has a bee in her bonnet. Better nip that in the bud. Yeah, well, if ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ were candy and nuts, we’d all have a Merry Christmas!

You just checked e-mail a minute ago -- a watched pot never boils. The ball’s in their court. Out of sight, out of mind. Nothing like cutting off your nose to spite your face. Bite the bullet.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained. What’s the worst that can happen? You never know until you try. What have you got to lose? That and 50¢ will get you a cup of coffee.

I need that like I need a hole in the head. A penny saved is a penny earned. A fool and her money are soon parted. You gotta spend money to make money. Ok, maybe I was being penny wise, pound foolish. Live and learn…

And finally, as I sign off the computer and my inner Scarlet sighs that tomorrow’s another day, I am grateful that -- so far at least -- I’ve found that hope springs eternal and that all’s well that ends well…

© 2012 Ingrid Sapona


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