You Know What They Say…  


What did they say? Should we be analyzing them based on what they just said? Those word choices lead me to believe they might be bizarre. What do we say about them? Did we read too much into it? Every time they learn a new word, they use it as often as they can. What does that say about him? “Who cares?” she says. She accuses us of over-analyzing them and being wrong more often than we’re right in these situations. “Maybe they just like using new words.” 

You know what they say, “Where do we go from here now that all of the children are growing up?” 

“I don’t think your mother would approve,” Green said. 

“I don’t call her mother,” Aqua replied. “I call her mom. No one calls their mom mother anymore.” 

“No one?” 

“Babies call their mom mommy, kids call her mom, and kids who are trying to be handsome call her mother.”  

You know what they say, “Who’s your daddy?” 

When we finally locate our child’s missing underwear, we knew it was time to consult his doctor, on his meds, when our dad said: 

“That’s such a relief, because I was so worried that our neighbors might find them at their house.” 

“Why would his underwear be over there?” we said when his tones suggested we should all consider this a relief. 

“Because they might find them there,” he said, as if we weren’t getting it. “They might steal them and say they found them at their house.” 

“Why would they do that?” we asked.  

“I watch that Court TV a lot, and these people dream up stories like these all the time,” he said. “Who’s to say they don’t dream up some tale about their daughter getting pregnant, and who’s the father? Why, it’s your kid! It’s what they call a paternity suit.” 

“I’m going to guess that the judge might throw this one out dad,” we said, “because they’re four-year-olds.” 

“Listen Mr. Smarty Pants,” he said in such a forceful manner that we took a step back. “You don’t know everything. You don’t know anything. They bring up frivolous cases like these all the time. You think they all get thrown out? And what happens before that case gets thrown out? Your child’s reputation gets dragged through the mud by all of these scandalous newspapers running stories on him.”  

You know what they say, “Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage.” 

“You’ll know you’ve been married a long time when you can identify the smell your partner’s gas in a crowd.”  

You know what they say, “All right, all right, I hope you sons a bitches see the light.” 

“Sometimes I think you enjoy making me suffer in life.” 

You know what they say, “Who will buy these wonderful roses?” 

“Why do you care if people are attractive?” Aqua asks. “Why does anyone care how attractive people are? On my list of priorities, how attractive a person is, is actually quite low.” 

“I believe you, but attractive people make the world go round. We can be funny, even if we’re not, when we’re attractive. We can be smart, savvy, and strong if we’re more attractive. It’s not true. It’s a relative perception, and when I say it, I’m joking, but it does make the world go round.” 

“Then don’t say it.”  

You know what they say, “The world is, the world is love and life froggy.” 

People mess up 180 degrees and 360 degrees all the time. “Your thoughts on this matter and mine are 360 degrees different.” We know what they mean. They mean 180 degrees, but what if we could change 360 degrees? It’s a dumb line that requires some pseudointellectual psychobabble, but it seems to me that there’s some surprisingly hilarious or existentially challenging lines in there somewhere that needs to be explored for idiotic impact.  

You know what they say, “You’re not paranoid if they’re really after you.” 

It is possible to lose your sanity in an instant, I know, but with as much space as authors devote to this phenomenon, loyal readers might think it’s common. Stephen King wrote about this phenomenon so often that I don’t think he realized how often he self-plagiarized. His scenes involved an incident so foreign to his character’s experience, and they proved so shocking and so scary that their hair went completely white in an instant. He wrote about such incidents so often that I think he would say it’s not only possible, it’s happened. “How is it possible?” is the only question that springs to mind. I’ll admit I don’t understand the finer details of hair growth, but I don’t understand how anything, no matter how scary or shocking, can cause the nutrient depletion necessary for grey and white hair from root to tip. The idea of losing sanity in an instant is more plausible but almost as difficult to comprehend. Most crazy people didn’t have a flashpoint. Crazy, more often than not, has an anthropological source that starts with genetics and builds over time after being raised with unusual people of unusual ideas.  

“You mean to tell me that it’s possible that we could see something so shocking that it could completely alter my brain chemistry. The prospect of that is so scary that it might alter my brain chemistry.” 

You know what they say, “If I wanted you dead McGurty, you’d be dead already!” 

I don’t know if I’ve aged out of certain narratives, or if I’ve seen the same ones so often that I just don’t believe them anymore. Modern movies tipped my suspension of disbelief for I now finally see them trying to convince me that our action hero is a no-nonsense, gun-toting belligerent who takes no guff. They’ve ruined most of favorite movies of all time in the process, for I now see what I fell for for so many years. When I hear character-building lines that instruct the audience to recognize that our action hero is a no-nonsense, gun-toting belligerent who takes no guff, I remember all the action heroes I loved who were no-nonsense, gun-toting belligerents who took no guff. I immediately think such lines are lazy, and I eventually realize I’m not wrong, because I see the derivative nature of the line. Thanks to modern movies and all of the characterizations I no longer believe, I now see the old ones for what they are. I now see how the narratives of the movies I loved were carefully constructed by side characters the screenwriter used to build the main character, so the director didn’t have to use costly action scenes to prove to us what a badass he was. I’ve also learned a great deal from the show-don’t-tell school of writing that says if you’re going to have a badass, have them shoot an otherwise insignifigant side character. Shoot the one eating a sandwich over by that lamp. Shoot don’t tell. Shoot him for no reason other than you just didn’t like the way he looked at you. I’m not buying the “If I wanted you dead McGurty, you’d be dead already!” line anymore. It’s been used too many times since The Godfather and the James Bond movies for me to believe it now. If this character would murder another person without knowing all the details, they’re obviously not much of an intellectual, so her adversary should just try to trick her with some intellectual gamesmanship. Also, if she shoots first and asks questions later, shouldn’t she be locked up as a psychopathic maniac? “Shhh, watch the movie!” 

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