Definition: NOUN: Cliche’ – a trite, stereotyped expression; a sentence or phrase, usually expressing a popular or common thought or idea, that has lost originality, ingenuity, and impact by long overuse, as sadder but wiser, or strong as an ox.
After looking up the definition, I feel bad for using them my entire life and career. Also, some of the best things my Dad thought me were expressed in his colorful use of cliche’ s. Just for kicks, here are a few that he taught me:
1. The only time you are the smartest person in the room is when you are alone! To some people, like me, when my Dad told me that I was somewhat offended. In reality what he was trying to get across was that everyone is this world knows something that I don’t. He was trying to impress on me that everyone, regardless of race, color, creed, education level, wealth or social status had something they could teach me. He delivered this adage to me while I was spouting something off that I obviously didn’t know anything about.
2. There is a God, and you are not him! Another little quip that would initially offend my fragile but growing ego. Pretty much self explanatory in getting across to quit being an obnoxious KIA (Know It All).
3. You should never be a sheep man in cattle country. Maybe a little more obscure than some things he told me, but the gist was it is better for me to listen and adapt my behavior to others than it was for me expect everyone to adapt to me.
4. Be careful whose toes you step on, they may be connected to the next ass you have to kiss. Self explanatory, especially good advice for prospective and current Superintendents.
5. Better to be thought a fool, then to open your mouth and remove all doubt! Actually, I believe he took this saying from Mark Twain, but he used it a lot with me.
6. Actions speak louder than words, but not nearly as often. Another quote I believe he borrowed from Mark Twain, but he thought it was cooler than telling me to “just do the work and be quite”.
7. Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig. This quote was borrowed from Robert Heinlein, but Dad used it when I wouldn’t listen to what he was telling me to do. I think I should have been insulted.
8. If you can’t run with the big dogs, you better stay on the porch. Pretty easy for me to understand this one. I had been trying out my talent at drinking “hard stuff” and I didn’t fare too well (I did manage to master that task later in life, was nearly my demise).
9. You can’t make Chicken Salad out of Chicken Sh**. Sometimes you just have to “let it go”.
10. Do the best you can, then whatever happens, happens. No explanation needed, even for me.
11. The letters behind your name are not an indication of your intelligence. I realized that was true about the time I finished Doctorate. Probably should have been offended about that one too.
12. What the hell where you thinking!Probably used more than any other quote I can remember. Generally, used anytime I believed I had a better way to do things than what I was told.
There are many more that my Father used to tell me, but I will stop now. You know short attention span and all.
In all seriousness, my Dad was the smartest, kindest, most loyal father any son could ever had. He supported me and my brother and sister even when he knew it was a losing battle. Dad has been gone for 22 years, but I think of him ever day. I know he and my Mom are in heaven reading this blog and saying to each other “What the hell is he thinking”.