Tuesday, January 29, 2013

What They Said and What I Say

By JccKeith

I don’t know who said it first so I’ll just say that they say, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

That’s a nifty little saying for all of those people who walk away from trials and/or tribulations feeling much the stronger person.  Now mind you, I did NOT say that these people walk away feeling like better people or nicer people or more appreciative people.  No, this handy little phrase specifies strength not any other wonderful qualities one might take away from troubled times.

I say, and most whole heartedly feel, that this phrase can kiss my ass.  I have dealt with very few things in my life that left me feeling ‘stronger.’  Yes I have had many difficulties that left me feeling like a better person or a wiser person or other such beneficial things.  It is the strength part I have a problem with. 

Unless you’re talking about basic training or training before volleyball season or track practice or anything which serves to develop strength then just shut it.  Most of the difficulties in my life that I have obviously survived seeing as how I’m still breathing at the moment – have left me feeling tired, depleted, emotionally drained, exhausted, weakened from the fight and hoping to never have to endure such a thing again.

Even that feeling you sometimes get of appreciation for the journey is not equivalent to strength.  Feeling good that you saw it through till the bitter end or survived the ordeal or lived to fight another day is not strength. 

Don't Give Him a Ride
Now I would say that enduring troubling times may make you smarter and more able to spot those things which led to your having faced terrible times.  Maybe next time you won’t spend your money so unwisely, do those unusual drugs or bathsalts, forget to put your car in park, or trust that bloody axe wielding stranger asking for a ride.

I would also say that painful times will lead you to find out just how much you can take.  It probably will not increase your endurance but it will show you the exact limits of yours.  Knowing just how far you can go, how much you can take, is not strength.  It is knowledge of oneself and ones limits.

The simple fact of the matter is that difficulty and pain do not make a person stronger.  They merely enable a person to see just how strong they already are.  These things test us, they bring out characteristics we may not have realized we had.  They also provide us with a measuring stick for how bad things truly are.  We can always look back and say to ourselves that this is not the worst thing we have been through.  Based on the past, we know we can survive if we just ride out the latest wave of misery.

But enough of my ranting about strength and being stronger and exact wording and on to my more immediate concern.  I really dislike clichés.  They are such a cornerstone of our language and everyone knows them and yet most are completely ridiculous if you really pay attention to the wording.  I mean honestly, who kills birds with stones anymore?  And who really knows if the early bird gets the worm.  Why not the worm that waits doesn’t get eaten by birds?  Or better yet, the late bird gets the French fries.  You know, it might just be that
I have a real problem with clichés that involve birds in any way.

And for your amusement, here is a funny clip involving cliches:

As for other non bird related clichés - I generally only use them in conversation when I’m tired of talking to the person and I want to wrap it up.  Even then, I have a tendency to be lazy and let the other person fill in the cliché of their choice.

It works something like this – I start responding with yes, yeah, uh huh, ok, and look for the first opportunity to end things on a thoughtful note.  Something about using clichés seems to make people think that you are more profound than you really are.  It is cheating really. I’m basically stealing someone else’s one time profound wisdom on something. 

Even then, I’m just too lazy to even think of one that fits whatever happens to be on the other person’s mind at the time.  I let their brain do the work for me by just starting with, “Well… you know what they say…” and after a brief pause amazingly, every time, the other person fills in the appropriate cliché.

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