On Platitudes

humor, writing

Platitudes, I hate them…or.. Platypuses, I love them

Who’s with me? Are they not the absolute worst? Which do YOU hate? Do you not want to just pile them all together into a heap and light it on fire..then dance around it in your birthday suit chanting something wild and spasmodic while they roast like holiday chestnuts. I hope they don’t go quickly, I hope they suffer.

Platitudes, I hate them. They are quite a bit like secular religiosity aren’t they i.e. content imbued with meaning and intended for the purpose of placation and pacification. Where it is not fashionable to invoke God directly, some utter banality is recited to lubricate the coping mechanisms of the person on its receiving end. The stupid hopeful ones are especially peevish to me.

 “Everything happens for a reason.” Is one of my favorites to hate on, inane as it is. I got smacked upside the head with that one today and I almost punched its source face. Do people not think at all about the meaning of the words they push out of their mouths? At the very least it is deeply insulting to anyone who has endured real hardship, random suffering, loss or injustice. No everything does not happen for a reason, what reason is there for cancer, car accidents or rape?! And hair loss, what reason is there for hair loss, a scalp tan?

“There is always a silver lining.”Is the other one that makes me cringe. Again what’s the silver lining in a severed spinal cord, a shiny set of brand new wheels?

 “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” This is obviously retarded. (I heard this word has become politically incorrect, but I refuse to alter my vernacular, as never have I used it in a discriminatory manner) I realize that no example is needed for this self-evident trifle, but I enjoy generating dramatic examples. Here goes. How about that poor 15 year old girl who contracted meningitis a few months back, lost her arms, legs, skin, hair and face, it didn’t kill her, and it certainly didn’t make her stronger.

 “There is a thin line between love and hate.”WHAT?! THAT IS THE MOST HAIRBRAINED OF THEM ALL. It worries me because I do feel like this kind of stupid affects people, rubs off on them. They hear it enough they start to believe it.

I try to see both sides, be the devil’s advocate against my acrimony. Platitudes, are they sometimes all we got? Your friend just finished whining to you about her break up, you are expected to say something comforting quickly, lest she discerns the real meaning of that look on your face. Are platitudes your only resort? Is it possible that if they were stricken from human repertoire, the social fabric of humanity would just woosh and unravel? Are platitudes the trite, vacuous glue that holds us together, keeps us hopeful and spuriously optimistic in an otherwise chaotic world? Hmm.

To avoid confusion, I’d like to clarify that while I hate a platitude, I love me a platypus. This cuddly duck billed, beaver tailed, otter footed, egg laying evolutionary marvel of a mammal is not at all related to its wretched near namesake, the platitude, and would be gravely offended were it ever confused for one.

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7 thoughts on “On Platitudes

  1. Platitudes are often what people say when they don’t know what to say… I wish they would instead just say “I don’t know what to say.”

    It almost fits that Jimmy Buffet song… Changes in platitudes, changes in attitudes…

    As for the platypus… it’s kind of amazing we don’t hear more about them, considering the marvel of an animal that they are. I could certainly do with more of the platypus and less of the platitude.

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  2. You need to look on the bright side. Just remember, it all comes out in the wash. You just have to try a little harder. Seriously, don’t let it get you down. Just let it slide off your back and take it one day at a time because tomorrow will be better and time heals all wounds. If you’ll just follow your heart, something will turn up. Nothing is impossible, and while we all have problems, happiness is a choice. It’s not rocket science. Things will work out. Maybe it just wasn’t meant to be, so don’t let it eat at you. What’s done is done and you need to keep a stiff upper lip and get on with your life. This too shall pass. Because, if life gives you lemons, you need to make lemonade. I understand this is difficult for you, but one day you’ll see things differently. You have your whole life ahead of you and you can be anything you want. You just need to believe in yourself.

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