Friday 5: Better Cliches

A white woman in a black sirt and a white t-shirt riding a vintage light blue bicycle down a sidewalk on a sunny day.

What’s something you really never forget how to do?

I think riding a bicycle really is one of those things, though? Swimming, too (if you ever learned how to, anyway). I would have been tempted to put down “The Electric Slide,” because it seems that anytime it comes up, it’s a collective cultural memory and that even if you couldn’t so it by yourself, the group knows how to do it—but at my friend’s wedding back in August the DJ put on “The Electric Slide” and no one could remember, so another friend who does contra dance had to actually call the moves for us. I guess you can forget how to do The Electric Slide!

It’s been going on five years since I worked as a cave tour guide, but I suspect you could put a maroon polo shirt on me and send me down as an auxiliary back-up guide without any problems.


What really has charms to soothe the savage breast?

And I still think music is the best answer to this one.  Otherwise: dopamine? sedatives?

What really makes the world go ’round?

When I went to Google a good explanation for the original cliche for this one, I automatically looked it up as “love makes the world go ’round,” forgetting that “money makes the world go ’round” is equally fixed in the English language. I guess I’m a little bit of an altruistic idealist after all!

But of course, what really makes the world go ’round is gravity.


What really makes the heart grow fonder?

Absence, but punctuated with periods of proximity.


What’s really the sincerest form of flattery?

I think imitation has some very creepy vibes to it. It says more about the person doing the imitating feels about themselves than how they feel about the person they’re imitating, a lot of the time. And I mean: flattery is usually about trying to get something out of someone, right? You wouldn’t go into your boss’s office to ask for some extra time off wearing the same watch and suit, for example. (You might mirror their body language, for example, but that’s not quite imitation, is it?)

So if flattery is an attempt to get something, and is by its nature insincere, what’s the most sincere form of that? The most honest form of flattery is, I suppose, a bribe.

The most sincere way to compliment someone, or to indicate your admiration, affection, or respect for them, is another matter entirely. For me, it’s the little things that count—randomly texting me when they think of something funny or sending me a link they think I’d be interested in, remembering something I’ve mentioned before. Small things they by no means have to do when it comes to being a friend, but do anyway.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *