Avoid Cliche`s Like the Plague

Unless you’re a newscaster or reporter, that is. Watch almost any newscast and watch for the tried-and-trite cliche`s. You could even play a moderately effective drinking game: watch the news and take a swig each time one of those tired old lines is used. Here are a few of the most common cliche`s, along with what they really mean. No doubt I’ve left out a few, and there are surely a lot that I haven’t even heard yet, so keep your eyes and ears peeled.

Storm (or crime, or game) of the Century: There are at least a few of these every single year.
Police Are Not Calling Him a Suspect: Not on camera, at least not yet, they’re not, but hide a microphone in the squad room and you’ll hear a completely different version of things.
Police Say She Is Cooperating With Their Investigation: This can be interpreted a couple of ways.
1. She is confessing and telling them where to find the body. Or
2. She’ll be lawyered up by tomorrow and then she won’t be so very helpful anymore.
Every Parent’s Worst Nightmare: This is so overused it doesn’t need any commentary from me.
Unspeakable: Stay tuned, everyone! We’re going to tell you all the gory details, right after these important words from our sponsors! Don’t go away now!
Neighbors Are Shocked: (That he would shoot his entire family, burn down his house, embezzle his company’s fortune, blow up the Starbucks, etc.) They either didn’t know the culprit at all, or they were just waiting for something like this to happen. Possibly they even had a betting pool going.
Neighbors Describe Him As Quiet: (or that he kept to himself) Don’t ever be quiet or keep to yourself. Those are sure signs of a serial killer or mass murderer, and your neighbors really will have a betting pool. Honestly, you’ve got to figure at least SOME SK’s are noisy and boisterous, but you never hear about them.
Routine Traffic Stop: If it made the news at all, it was anything but routine Notice that it’s only the routine traffic stops that turn out to be disastrous.
Family Man: Just wait. The Other Woman, and quite possibly the Other Children, will surface eventually.
Flamboyant: Bizarre. Attention whore.
Free Spirit: Irresponsible. The type to run off and hitchhike to Las Vegas when they told the folks at home they were just going to the store for a pack of gum.
Charming: Shallow, at best. If “charming” is accompanied by “beautiful/handsome” they have done something terrible or it has been done to them.
Fun-loving: Liable to get plastered and wreck his parents’ house while they’re on vacation.
Cautious: Paranoid. House is like a bunker. Insists on secret knocks, passwords and has even called the police about the new mailman.
Trusting: No judgment, nearly nonexistent survival instincts. The polar opposite of the Cautious type described above. You can sell this person an oceanfront condo in North Dakota.
Model Employee: Roundly disliked by the other workers. Sucks up to the boss.
Aspiring Model/Actor: More looks than brains and more ambition than talent.
Well-preserved: (of a person) Has a plastic surgeon on retainer.
Vintage: (of a house, car, etc.) About to fall apart. Doesn’t even have to be very old, just neglected.
Precocious: (of a child) Mouthy, loves running verbal rings around adults. Usually gets away with it because he or she is cute and assumed to be intelligent.
Chilly: Below freezing.
Breezy: Small people may blow away to Oz.
Wet: Get your sump pump ready.
Pungent: Egads, what a stench!
Acquired Taste: Hardly anybody has managed to acquire the taste, or even wants to.

Yes, these are very cynical interpretations, but you can’t watch the news much without becoming at least a bit jaded by it all.


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