In the seventies there was an impersonator called Mike Yarwood. Every time he did his rather useless impression of Dennis Healy, he made use of the term “silly billy”.
This is the sort of thing that comes around in your head when the night is sleepless. Then I thought of other rhyming pairs now in common use before realising how much I hate them.
If sarcasm is the lowest form of wit then rhyming clichés are the lowest form of phrase. I’m sure we all have a mental list of sayings which make us cringe and thanks to my sleepless night, I’m going to impose some of mine on you.
I was not really aware of their potential to irritate until I heard the term fun run. FUN RUN: There, I’ve shouted it at you.
Running has a variety of uses. In terms of catching a bus or minimising the embarrassment of acute lateness, running can be an expedient response. For those noble souls who run as part of their daily routine; gallantly jogging along with heads impaled by ear plugs and the traditional bright livery which gives you an urge to throw up at the temerity of such vibrant colour combinations-it’s a gesture to the value of fitness, thus deserving of some polite applause.
Then there are the occasional joggers who don their shorts or leggings in the good name of charity. Again, it shows heartfelt genuine worthwhile endeavour. But is it fun? I’ve never seen a runner laughing. There might be a joyous sigh or the enforced grimace of a stitch at the end of a five or ten kilometre stretch of endurance and breathlessness but fun? Satisfaction? Yes. Feel good factor? Yes. Sense of adventure? Yes. The discovery of a new you? Perhaps. Fun? Ermmmmmmmmmmmmmm…
But it’s not catchy is it?
“Suffer a case of mild exhaustion whilst trying to chat to your friend run.” Or “slowly realise how unfit you are run.”
So we get fun run in all its euphemistic oxymoronic glory. Then at the end of that sobering yet worthy spell, when you’re standing panting, doubled over in the pain of your efforts, some super fit skinny rake comes up to you and says: “No pain no gain.”
I’ve always said that putting your body through extremes of tolerance gives you excellent tools for dealing with life in general. Whether it’s running or swimming, cycling or mountaineering, the relief of the finish and the sense of achievement through grit and determination plus that little streak of madness, makes you really appreciate and value yourself. It may even offer a level of empathy with those who regularly face such challenges just to get through the day.
Then it gets worse.
Don’t look now but our whole life is being infiltrated by smug rhyming clichés.
Tear and share; I don’t know about you but I associate the word tear with a slight accident or a mad frenzy of destruction. Imagine the eager child and the wrapping paper of his x box shaped birthday present. I believe it relates to a pizza or some form of communal eating.
I wonder if the phrase was used in the loaves and fishes miracle?
“Come on you desperate starving five thousand; tear and share.”
On some sports channels we may well be confronted with the term Fight night. I have the impression of two brutish gangs standing face to face, shouting and taunting Hakka style until the sun dips below the horizon.
At the sound of a bell they go at each other hammer and tongs until the last person falls.
I’ve taught a few Lizzies over the years and the one thing I’ve learned is never to use the prefix “busy”. Unless of course you want some sort of cutting painful riposte.
Now I’ve put the idea in your head, I’ll leave you to find your own personal rhyming, scream inducing clichés.
But hey, (How American. We can probably blame the good old boys over there for so many of these verbal needles.) It won’t be a blast from the past and I’m not cruising for a bruising so take a chill pill, it’s the real deal. This short rhyme chime is merely the bastard child of cockney rhyming slang. So go out and shop ’til you drop with ants in your pants because by hook or by crook it’s the real deal. I’m off to get drunk as a skunk.
Thank-you for reading.
Or ta lar, as they say in Liverpool.