The other day my friend Dan Mitchell and I got to talking about those strange little catch phrases that pop into the English language from time to time, get ridiculously over used for a few years, and then completely disappear…never to be uttered again…except for by the incredibly unhip.
By way of example you remember “Where’s the Beef” from the 1980s? What started out as a fast food commercial later ended up being used in a 1984 Presidential Debate. How weird is that?
More recently we’ve cycled through “Get ‘er done”, “talk to the hand”, “It’s all good”, and “Wazzzzzup” from the Budweiser beer commercials a few years ago. When my Dad called me and said “Wazzzzzup?” I knew that culturally speaking we had officially jumped the shark.
“Peace out” still seems to be floating around…although I always figured that Mahatma Gandhi is about the only person who could’ve used that phrase and had it ring true. As soon as your average 3 piece suit wearing bank presidents and divorce attorneys started saying “Peace Out”, it kind of ceased to have any real meaning, you know?
And of course, there’s also “You GO girl!”, which I only find to be funny if you say it to super macho guy.
Within the last couple years I found myself hearing “It is what it is” an awful lot.
What does that actually MEAN? Isn’t that like saying “a refrigerator is a refrigerator” or “an elephant is an elephant”?
Whenever someone around me says “It is What it Is” I hear the voice of my high school algebra teacher Frank Kich saying “that’s little more than circular logic disguised as deep thought, Mr. Casey”.
I’m no linguistic expert but lately I get this feeling that “it is what it is” is slowly being replaced on the over-use meter by the catch phrase “I’m just sayin’…”
In fact, earlier this week when I told my 6 year old daughter it was time for her to go to bed, she protested by pointing out that her 9 year old brother got to stay up later than her.
I reminded Lily that her brother was older and that Mom and Dad make the rules of the house, not her…and she responded by stomping off to her room and yelling “Well, jeez Dad, I’m just SAYIN’!”
If 6 year olds are using “I’m Just Sayin” it must be long past time for that catch phrase to go too.
Of course, when you get right down to it there’s not a whole lot any of us can do about the catch phrase phenomenon because, after all, ”it is what it is”.