Much of what we say actually means something else. Hear me out on this, friends.
We utilize multiple words and phrases that are either inaccurate or utterly fallacious. It’s seemingly most often unintentional; however, today I’m wondering about the colloquial error of our ways. I speak not about the grammatical misuse of “lie” vs. “lay” or “who,” “which,” and “that.” I’m thinking more about the phrasing that has subtly sneaked into our dialogue that simply is untrue. For example…
“It is what is is.”
Egad. Perhaps one of my pet peeves. “It is what it is.” What exactly does that mean? Does it all go back to Pres. Clinton’s legal questioning surrounding the definition of “is”? Surely not.
We hear that phrasing frequently…
From business mogul, Ted Turner: “I regret that I wasn’t more successful with my marriages, but it is what it is.”
Or from my fave NFL QB, Drew Brees: “The Madden Curse has really taken on a life of its own. People just love talking about it, and it is what it is, but I look at it as a challenge.”
Are you kidding? It is what it “is”?! No. “It is what it is” is what we say when we don’t know what to say anymore. It’s the clear ender of conversation, meaning there’s little else to say or I really don’t want to speak of it anymore (see Turner, Ted).
We also hear…
“You’ve got the patience of Job.”
Sometimes, as the parent of a special needs child, I receive that frequent retort. Newsflash, friends: it’s not true. I don’t have the patience of Job. But the reality is, in my semi-humble opinion, that Job wasn’t patient! Shocking. (Another “hear me out” here…)
In my continuous pursuit of wisdom, I routinely invest in writings that are historically noted for their accuracy and truth. Once again, I just completed reading through the book of Job.
Here was a man who was blameless — a man of complete integrity. He was wealthy and wise yet seemingly humble and giving. And over the course of a few stunning days, the man lost his family, possessions, and good health. Such is a set of circumstances that undoubtedly would cause each of us to cry out, arguably inserting a bit of “why me.”
But Job went further. While at first seemingly attempting to persevere and maintain his humility — a component contemporary society often negates from its integrity definition — Job’s countenance and composure changed. Granted, he had a few friends around him who were certainly not helpful, yet Job became demanding. He cursed the day of his birth. He questioned the wisdom of God. He questioned not only God’s wisdom but his power and all of creation. He condemned God to justify himself. (Fascinating concept… condemning God to justify self… my thinking… my behavior…)
Who knows how any of us would act under such a tragic, unthinkable set of circumstances? Truthfully, most of us would probably act much like Job. The reality is that such is not considered patient.
More false phrases exist…
… “head over heels”… aren’t heads already over heels?
… “could care less” … then why are we speaking to begin with? Isn’t it “couldn’t”??
Or one of my funny favorites…
… “the whole 9 yards”… wait… all NFL enthusiasts know that 9 yards are not “whole”; a team has to go 10 yards to actually continue down the field.
Sorry, friends. I’m not very patient today. Have I shared that I do not have the patience of Job?