14 Shitty Sayings

There are a lot of sayings out there. So many that they just kind of blend into normal English. People say things like “enough is enough” and “it goes without saying” and “first things first” without even realizing they’re quoting some proverb. Some sayings originated in movies. Others were coined by famous writers or celebrities. A shocking amount were coined by Shakespeare. And while most of these idioms are serving us just fine, there are some that need to go:

1) Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Why? Why, if someone fools me twice, should I feel shameful? And what kind of dick fools people twice? It should go, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, seriously get the hell away.”

2) It’s deja vu all over again. This is just annoying. Further, I’ve never experienced deja vu. I said this once in a group of people and everyone made me feel bad about myself. Sorry if I’m not some mythical being who’s connected to the spirits and sees dead people and thinks they’ve been in situations in another lifetime before. That definitely makes me the weird one here.

3) I slept like a baby. Babies don’t sleep well. They’re incredibly light, restless sleepers.

4) The only person you can trust is yourself. What kind of horrible lives have people had that they say this shit? Who would want to marry someone who says this kind of thing? Frankly, I trust a lot of people more than I trust myself. I mess a lot of things up. I’m a pretty reckless driver, I sleep through my alarm sometimes, I do everything at the last minute, I lose stuff, I mistreat my belongings, I buy too many groceries and end up throwing a lot of them out—I’m not especially trustworthy.

5) I’ll forgive…but I will never forget. Oh, won’t you? Well at least you forgave me, in that ominous vengeful way. Thanks for that.

6) Things are not always what they seem. This one is only on the list because it’s the kind of thing the scary narrator would say at the beginning of the kids’ ghost movie and it upset me when I was five.

7) Don’t be a stranger. First of all, it’s just kind of an annoying thing to say. Secondly, the only people who have ever said this to me are people I kind of hope I don’t have to hang out with again for a long time.

8) Life is short. I know. And it’s a fact that upsets me. And I don’t want to be reminded of it. The worst is when people follow this with something, like, “Life is short, so make the most of it.” That’s like someone telling me, “You know that great relationship you’re in? Well, I know the future and she’s going to leave you for another guy in three weeks, so make the most of it now!” or “You’re going to get fired in a month, so dive in and enjoy your job while it lasts!” It’s precisely when I forget that life is short and finite that I can actually enjoy myself.

9) The early bird catches the worm! The early bird is also kind of a smug piece of shit. This country has a discrimination problem when it comes to early risers and night owls. If someone works eight hours from 7am to 3pm, everyone’s like, “What a great adult!” But if someone works 10 hours, from 11am to 9pm, people are like, “He didn’t even get to work until 11 today—he really needs to get his life together.” And yes, this is personal.

10) Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise. No comment.

11) Practice makes perfect! No it doesn’t. Practice makes it more painful when you’re still bad at it. I’ve spent a lot of time on driving ranges and putting greens.

12) A picture is worth 1,000 words. 1,000 is a gross exaggeration. This post is about 1,000 words. If I just posted some photo instead people wouldn’t be like, “That seems sufficient.” They’d be like, “What is this shitty photo and where is the Monday post?” And doesn’t this contradict the whole notion of TV being a loathsome waste of time while reading is a wonderful, enriching activity? Which makes no sense, by the way. If someone sits inside all afternoon and watches the History Channel and learns all about the Civil War in the process, people would be like, “He’s just wasting away in there…so sad…he must be depressed.” But if they spend the afternoon reading some trashy novel—then what a wonderful way to spend a Saturday!

13) All good things come to those who wait. Not remotely true.

14) We’ll cross that bridge when we get there. Thanks, dick, but if I wanted to discuss it later I wouldn’t have brought it up now.

  • Must have a touch of Mondayitis.

  • Anonymous

    This was great! A few that weren’t here, but it was great! The one’s you left out were obvious as to why there stupid anyways! I’m looking forward to reading Mondays blog!

  • Anonymous

    #15 It is what it is.

  • Anonymous

    variation on #11 “perfect practice makes perfect” -___-

  • go for it. 🙁

  • Anonymous

    its not about the gained knowledge of reading but the that it encourages the growth of your neurological connections more than watching tv which neednt be uninformative but a kid growing up in a library is by far less probable of having add than a kid that grew up in front of the television
    and if you let a person who obviously fooled you fool you again its (not only of course) your fault: lets say youre out scoring some weed and you but an ounce of a guy but all you get in return is a slap in the face
    anyone who despite this returns to said dealer is bound to repeat the experience that should have taught him otherwise
    so if your dealer or car mechanic or “friend” rips you off keep in mind that if your incapable of learning darwinism will catch up with your sorry ass

    • Anonymous

      Just so.

  • Anonymous

    How could you forget “everything happens for a reason”? UGH

    • This one MAY be annoying, but it is TRUTH. Everything does happen for some reason… or we could say, every cause has an effect. Just saying 😉 (now we could for sure have a conversation about ‘just saying’ being a shitty saying.)

      • No one in Particular

        Going from “Everything happens for a reason” to “Every cause has an effect” is not strictly valid with formal logic; the former would actually translate to “Everything is an effect which has a cause”.
        Of course, more often people use the saying in order to assign something with possibly very complex causes some later sense.
        For example, my mother once told me that my twin sisters heavy disability (and death before reaching two years’ of age) led to the discovery and treatment of a far lighter disability in me. While I can empathise with my mother’s need for her daughter’s suffering not to have been in vain, I cannot agree that treatment of my slight problem was a particularly good reason for my sister’s issues. That’s basically saying that the reason for even the biggest black cloud is its silver lining, which is merely a slight positive side-effect.

    • Anonymous

      Strictly speaking, Quantum Mechanics contradicts that statement. There is a statistical probability, say, of a particle decaying, but there is no specific cause.

    • the discovery of quantum mechanics happened for a reason….

    • “Reason” implies fate and some cosmological consciousness. I’m not buying that.

  • I like your posts but the life is short one bothered me, I’m surprised you agreed with the notion of life being short, although it is the longest thing you will ever experience. That alone should be sufficient to not care about that string of words.

  • Anonymous

    I hate when people say “I could care less.” Because often it is exactly the opposite of what they mean, which is that they *couldn’t* care less. If they could care less, that means they care.

    • redball81

      Actually, “I could care less” is CORRECT. It’s used as a sarcastic phrase. Also, linguists have studied it and also have said that it’s grammatically fine, given that it’s meant as sarcasm.

    • “I could care less” is ALWAYS incorrect. Think about it.

    • Who cares less?: a) “I could care less”
      b) “I couldn’t care less”
      c) one who doesn’t care, and doesn’t think it even worth mentioning.

  • Kat

    Wholeheartedly agree on #9.. Sadly, so very rampant as a social construct.

  • Anonymous

    Personal least favorite: “It’s a small world.”
    It is NOT a small world! It is a large, exciting world full of opportunities and thrilling experiences I haven’t lived yet! And stop trying to tell me it is narrow and limited, I refuse to lose my wonder. Yes, this is a rather irrational response to a kind of boring phrase. But damn, it bothers me.

  • Anonymous

    To 9): ‘The early worm gets catched.’…my favorite comeback to that retarded saying. This often turns out to change the point of view people see the world 😉

    • And then people laugh at you because you said ‘catched’?

    • High-5, igitur.

  • Anonymous

    at the end of the day not using these stupid clichés is a win-win situation.

  • Anonymous

    I present “not so much” as a candidate.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, and “It was meant to be” as another insipid line of shit. But maybe a little too controversial for the overly religious types. Even with God, there’s free will.

    • Lüke Hellwÿck

      Even with a made up entity, there’s free will?
      No, with human spirit, there’s free will

  • LS

    “There’s no such thing as a stupid question.”

    Trust me, I’ve heard plenty.

  • Anonymous

    “If you don’t know by now, I can’t explain it to you.”

    Can you kill me instead?

  • Anonymous

    “You can’t have your cake and eat it too”….what else are you supposed to do with cake?

    • Anonymous

      how are you supposed to have both at once, please enlighten me.

    • when people say “enlighten me” as if they are worthy of enlightenment just for one smug remark…


    • Anonymous

      And you can’t eat cake if there is none to eat!

  • Déjà vu doesn’t have to be some mystical hippie bullshit for it to happen. Apparently, it just happens when your brain connects in some weird way that makes you feel the same as you do when a similar event happens. Déjà vu happens to me all the time and I don’t believe it’s anything strange: it’s just my brain going weird.

    • Anonymous

      I had déjà vu constantly for a week. It was unbelievably anoying.Turned out I had a benign brain tumour which was pressing against the epilepsy centre.

  • Anonymous

    I think you are missing the point of colloquialisms and idioms

  • Oh ho ho..what about the little gem ‘Only the good die young’ ? Oh, that’s comforting! (and not remotely true..)

  • I always preferred the version of #10 that I first heard on Animaniacs as a kid … “Early to rise and early to bed makes a man healthy, wealthy, and socially dead.”

    (I don’t know how I missed this blog all this time, but I’m getting caught up tonight. You’ve made my week.)

  • “I slept like a baby”= “I woke up every two hours and went looking for a breast”.

    Just sayin’

  • Add these annoying ones: “same difference” “past history”

  • oh and “pre-recorded”

    • Lüke Hellwÿck

      Stuff is pre-recorded – podcasts are.

  • “Let’s see if we can’t…” When they really mean “Let’s see if we CAN.”

  • Anonymous

    Bit late to the party but wrt no. 9: those people typically overlook that the early worm is caught by a very smug bird.

  • After reading your posts, I have come to the conclusion that you are the smartest man (?) I know!

  • Pingback: 14 Shitty Sayings | Wait But Why | Word Appreci...()

  • Pola

    I’m new to your website (attracted by the procrastination posts) – May I suggest that you write a whole big article on the discrimination of night owls? Believe me, the US is not the only country where that happens …
    And being a night owl procrastinator, I feel like a freaking freak of nature.

  • Happy

    What about “Hey finish your food! there are a lot of starving children out there!”

    Umm, so finishing my food will feed the starving children? I guess gluttony has its purpose.

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  • Matt

    I believe ‘its deja vu all over again’ was a joke from the get-go. Deja Vu already implies something happened and is happening again, so saying its Deja Vu all over again is supposed to be tongue in cheek.

    • Anonymous

      Aren’t most of these kind of colloquialisms at least half tongue in cheek about half the time they are used? By the way, I happen to like “don’t be a stranger.” It’s the good kind of folksy, like “nothing to write home about” or “serious as a heart attack.” I also like “cute as a Chinese baby.” It’s the good kind of racist. I’m hoping it becomes a thing.

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  • Aidan

    I’d like to nominate “easier said than done”. Everything is easier said than done, and anyone who disagrees normally says something douchey like “love” – which still doesn’t make any sense but they will say this, lean back and give an obnoxious *knowing* look like they’re saying “I’m deep, and if you don’t get why I’m deep I feel sorry for you”…

    • Lontar

      “pruritus”. easier done than said.

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  • AramMcLean

    Life may be short, but it’s still the longest thing we got.

    • Vinay Kapadia

      That is an awesome reply! Totally gonna use it next time someone says life is short.

  • Vinay Kapadia

    Another one I don’t get is the whole YOLO thing. Why do people use “you only live once” as an excuse to do stupid things? I’d say the fact that I only live once is more of a reason NOT to do anything stupid. I’d rather be old and surrounded by family on my last days saying “YOLO, and I had a great run”.

  • N Grenard

    How about “God is in control” — so don’t even ATTEMPT to rectify any situation, right?

    • Lüke Hellwÿck

      As an atheist, I can’t agree.

  • PHN

    My Friend: “I hate getting old.”
    Me: “Your options are getting old or getting dead.”

  • PHN

    The cliche “the early bird gets the worm” can be countered by the comment “the second mouse gets the cheese.”

  • XYF

    The early worms were caught by the birds.

  • Cruz5280

    How about the obligatory “safe travels” when you part ways with someone who’s, well, traveling? We’re really telling them we hope they don’t die or get maimed during travel.

    Anyone wanting to be unique and (very) memorable when parting ways with a traveler could say “may death avoid you” or MDAY for short.

  • Dr. Iver

    I hate “the exception proves the rule”. Because what does that even mean? If there is an exception, doesn’t that mean that rule is not true (or at least imperfect)? I heard it was a mistranslation from Latin, but why did we stick with it if it makes no sense?

  • Chiel Wieringa

    “If you can’t beat them, join them” What? And make them even stronger?

    • Lontar

      I found this acceptable once, when doing carpentry. I was struggling and sweating to get this stripped-out screw out of a piece of board. Finally my friend comes over with a hammer and pounds it flat and says “if you can’t beat em, join em”. Gave me a chuckle.

  • noxteryn

    I always thought “things are not always what they seem” is one of the most redundant phrases ever. Of course things are not always what they seem. It’s so obvious a statement that it’s meaningless to even mention. What would be the alternative? Things being always what they seem? Well, of course they aren’t, I once saw a cloud that looked like a potato.

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  • Lontar

    “same shit, different day” – It’s not people say this, per se, but that they say it like it’s so lighthearted and funny. This is a seriously depressing and horrid outlook on life. When people say this to me I think “why do you keep waking up in the morning?”. Then I usually hug them.

  • ANON

    >Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise. No comment.
    Actually works though.

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