The other day a co-worker reiterated the title of the old Phil Collins song to me, Just Another Day in Paradise. As the theme of the tune revolved around the impoverished, my colleague’s statement was as sarcastic as the song title, for he was having a rotten day. His cynicism prompted me to examine some of the strange sayings and slogans that have wormed their way into our vernacular.
Consider “Laugh your ass off.” If only we could! Imagine stepping into a comedy club with a hefty posterior and emerging, after some good belly laughs, with a tight derriere. If this were feasible, how many fitness gurus and plastic surgeons would be on the unemployment line?
What about the admonition to get an education and work hard because “You can’t get by on your good looks”? That may have been sound advice for the majority of us, but what about the Christie Brinkleys, the Katharine McPhees, and the George Clooneys of the world? Although these celebrities are talented in their own rights, their good looks certainly unlocked doors for them that Plain Janes and Average Joes struggle to pry open.
Cartoon icon Fred Flintstone’s signature saying was “Yabba dabba do!” Joyfully crowed, this nonsense indicated excitement on the caveman’s part. Comic Jerry Seinfeld, however, liked to say “Yada, yada, yada” to express his boredom.
Frank Sinatra scored a hit with “That’s Life,” a song about life’s little and not so little ups and downs (“You’re riding high in April, and shot down in May”). Whenever life throws them curve balls, it’s a fatalistic “That’s life!” that rolls off some people’s tongues. However, these folks neglect to use the same phrase when things appear rosy.
Some clever soul put a new spin on an old adage with “Every morning is the dawn of a new error.” Singer Michael Buble apparently disagrees, for his song, “Feeling Good” contains the lyrics, “It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me.” I’m glad that Michael encourages us to move past our mistakes and get on with our lives.
Do you remember the phrase made famous by James Bond in the film, Diamonds are Forever? It was “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” Well, James lied. If he’d told the truth, the world would be beating a path to The City of Lost Wages — not to gamble but to bury their dirty little secrets. Interestingly, this saying has been adapted to fit a number of situations. It can be found on all manner of T-shirts, including those worn by babies that proclaim, “What happens at Grandma’s, stays at Grandma’s.”
Verizon’s slogan “Can you hear me now?” is a side splitter. With so many jobs outsourced to call centers overseas, not only do I have trouble hearing people on the other end of the line, I have the devil of a time understanding them. And vice versa!
How about the battle cry, “Do you yahoo? Yahoo!” If you think “Yahoo” relates only to an Internet browser, think again. In the 1960’s, one of the first advertisements for the soft drink Mountain Dew featured the slogan, “Yahoo! Mountain Dew!” It was a sly play-on-words, as the term “mountain dew” was synonymous with moonshine. My mother, however, had another use for “Yahoo!” Growing up, when my siblings and I drove her bonkers, she would step outside the house and yodel at the top of her lungs, “Yahoo! Mountain Dew!” She wasn’t peddling moonshine; it was simply her way of letting off steam.
DeBeers, the fine jewelry company, claimed that, “A diamond is forever.” Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of many marriages. Some women want a diamond ring more than they want a ball and chain … I mean, a husband.
A delusional individual must have penned dunkin Donuts’ slogan, “America runs on Dunkin”. If we crammed donuts into our faces regularly, we wouldn’t be running anywhere; we’d be huffing and puffing with every movement. If only we could run on them! If only we could shove the tasty treats into our gas tanks, it would be so much cheaper than what we pay at the pumps. Righteous, too. Just think of what it would do to BP (British Petroleum), which so richly deserves to go broke after unleashing that never-ending spill into the Gulf.
A buzz saw line that many of us remember was uttered in the movie A Few Good Men. “You can’t handle the truth!” spat Nathan Jessup (Jack Nicholson) at the opposing attorney, Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise). The Jessup character may as well have been speaking to the majority of the human race because, as another old maxim goes, “The truth hurts.”
Boy, does it! The saying, “Love is photogenic; it needs darkness to develop” packs a wallop for those of us who crave intimacy but don’t like the way our bodies look. But, hope springs eternal. If ever we despair of finding the perfect life partner, we should keep in mind another axiom: “For every pot, there is a lid.”