Adage: A saying that sets forth a general truth or common fact.
As far as adages go, there are many good ones out there. One of my favorites is: It is what it is. Such a simple little saying. I can hardly believe the comfort and clarity it brings me continually. As soon as something seems unfair (sometimes) or ridiculous (always), those five words clear the fog, calm my heart and get me moving.
On the other hand, there are some TERRIBLE adages out there. Adages that make me want to scream, 'THAT'S NOT TRUE! PLEASE STOP SAYING THAT!'
Here are the top ten adages that are big, fat lies.
1. HONESTY IS ALWAYS THE BEST POLICY. I'm not sure how this ever gained traction. Nothing could be more misguided then telling the truth in every instance. Can you imagine:
"Your haircut looks terrible."
"What a stupid thing to say."
"Irene, your blog is dumb and your legs look like sausages."
As I write this I'm fairly certain there are at least 3 people keeping things from me. Either the information is so old that it's no longer relevant or it would cause me so much agony... and telling me would change nothing.
Something people always say to me when I bring this up is, "What if your husband is cheating on you? Wouldn't you want to know that!" Hmmmm...no. Not really. Here's the thing...if it's an on going love affair and he's completely in-love with someone else and merely going through the motions with me out of some obligation then yes...please tell me. If he had a one night stand 8 years ago and deeply regrets it, then no..don't tell me. A zen saying I always like to keep in mind before I open my mouth is this: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it helpful? You are supposed to meet all three criteria..I aim for two.
2. MONEY CAN'T BUY HAPPINESS. Yes. It. Does.
This is an adage started by poor people to make themselves feel better about being poor. Look, I've been both dead broke and comfortable. The latter is way better. When I say dead broke, I mean it. I have rolled pennies for food, pawned cheap jewelry, avoided calls from credit card companies and worked 4 jobs to just get by. Those were not fun times. Now, I am comfortable...not rich by any stretch...but comfortable. Meaning I can pay the bills and go out to eat a couple times a week. Much better. I do understand that if you have some serious issues, throwing a couple dollars at it won't really work. But if you are the average person, with average problems...money will make life infinitely easier and you will be happier. Anyone who tells you differently has obviously never begged strangers for quarters to put gas in their tank. Been there. Not fun, not happy.
3. NEVER GIVE UP. No...please...give up.
This saying is especially damaging to women and dancers on reality shows.
"He hasn't called me 2 weeks but I'm not giving up!"
"They told me they've never seen someone dance so horribly, but I'm not giving up!"
It doesn't mean you're a quitter, it just means you're headed in the wrong direction. Adjust to the left a bit and see what happens. Get a new boyfriend, take up singing instead..who knows what will happen!
There are always those stories floating around that give people false hope.
"She tried to get it published 40 times and kept getting rejected until number 41!"
"He ignored her for 3 years then finally realized that she was the one for him."
Sure, it can happen. Will it happen? Probably not.
Tune into your deepest, quietest voice. You do know the truth. Sometimes when you 'give up' you find your true calling.
4. A WOMAN'S HAIR IS HER CROWNING GLORY. Enough with this one.
This saying is responsible for more unfortunate hair choices than I can count. It's the reason we have 68 year olds walking around with damaged ends to their waist. Get a cut that flatters you. If your long hair really works, then great. If your hairdresser and at least 2 close friends and 1 stranger have commented that a hair cut might 'do you some good' then get it cut. Instead of fretting over our long hair, we, as women, should be more concerned with what's under it. No...not our wrinkles...our brains. Cut your hair and read a book.
5. THE HEART WANTS WHAT THE HEART WANTS. Oy.
This saying has landed many people in hot water since becoming popular. I'm fairly certain Mary Kay Letourneau used it and I'm positive Woody Allen used it when he slept with his foster daughter. Here's what most people fail to understand...your heart is an idiot. It can't reason. Can it pump blood? Yup! It's terrific at that! Can it make choices? Nope! Sucks at that. Your heart doesn't understand if something is morally wrong or just plain icky. My heart wants lots of things. It wants to eat fried chicken and friend cheese for every meal. My heart wants to make-out with Josh Duhamel. My heart wants to pour boiling hot lava over the woman who just cut the line at Rite Aid. Use your brain! Now that's an organ that can think! It reasons and usually acts appropriately. Now believe me, I've acted like a jack-ass plenty of times in my life even with my brain engaged. It's not fool-proof, but it's a better bet.
6. HE WHO SMELT IT, DEALT Not true.
Many times I have smelt it and not dealt it.
7. ABSENCE MAKES THE HEART(oy, again with the heart) GROW FONDER. This one needs adjusting.
Folks often use this one in long distance relationships. In those cases it should be: Absence makes the heart grow fonder...for awhile. First you will feel a dull stitch in your side, then you will start hating the absent person for being so far away, then you will forget to ask them how their day went and then you will forget they exist. For everyone else it doesn't apply AT ALL. If you are fond of someone who is far away then you will be super fond of them when they are up close. Having the ones you love far away from you is an ache that never leaves. It doesn't make your 'heart' grow fonder, it makes your 'heart' wish it could be magically transported to where they are.
8. BETTER LATE THAN NEVER. Chronically late people like this one.
When you arrive late constantly, it's annoying. It's your silent way of saying, 'Hey, you don't matter to me and neither does your time.' Sometimes it's better if you just didn't show up at all. Trust me on this one. Your late presence has now irritated me to the point of no return, so you may as well have just stayed home because I'm too pissed to enjoy anything right now anyway. Next time, arrive on time or stay home.
9. AGE IS A STATE OF MIND, NOT A MEASURE OF TIME. A 22 year old started this one.
I can stay up to date with music, computers and fashion but it doesn't change the fact that I look about 87 when I get up in the morning and pee 7 times a night. Age is not in my mind. It's in my knees, back and face. Age is also responsible for my weeping every time I reference The Fonz and am met with blank stares.
10. THOSE WHO CAN, DO. THOSE WHO CAN'T, TEACH. This one just sucks.
This saying should be permanently removed and never used again. It's stupid, disrespectful, insulting, rude and NOT TRUE. Teaching is noble and, in my estimation, one of the highest callings a person can have. It's shameful if this saying has ever dissuaded anyone from becoming a teacher or has made a teacher feel anything less than fantastic about what they are doing. I hate this adage and cannot be held responsible for my actions if I hear it come out of someones mouth.
That's all I can think of for now. After writing all these down I feel so agitated that I might have to go for a run (probably not) or eat something fattening (probably).
Let's never use these sayings again! Who's with me?