The Phrase That Pays


As the commute to and from work is often riddled with obnoxious traffic, I am always switching through radio stations to find something of interest, something to lessen the monotony of the drive. Sometimes it is NPR, other times, music.

All music channels seem to have some gimmick or another to keep their listeners coming back for more. One station plays a game where, if you hear a certain phrase throughout the day (revealed in the morning) AND are the tenth caller, you win your bills paid for a month or a concert ticket or some other prize.

This got me thinking about things people say that tend to annoy me and, in my humble opinion, the real game should be called The Phrase That Doesn’t Pay. Here’s a phrase that raises my blood pressure when used in conversation:

“Let’s be honest.”

Every time someone throws this phrase into a chat, I want to hold my hands up like a referee, call a timeout, and say:

Stop. Right. There. Back. It. Up. Until now, have you not been honest? Because I have. And now I’m worried.

Now, I know this is minor. The phrase is often (to the best of my understanding) used to carry a conversation along or to establish or emphasize a point. But somehow, it just rubs me the wrong way. Let’s be honest, doesn’t it bug you?

An old friend of mine has many phrases that don’t pay her much at all. She gets annoyed whenever someone shortens their words. She literally cringes. For example, if someone says PBJ instead of peanut butter and jelly. Or mac and cheese instead of macaroni and cheese. Do you want some OJ? That’s a big no no. As you might imagine, if you are a fellow teacher, acronyms are used DAILY in education–and they throw her into a downright tizzy! Once I saw her hyperventilate during a professional training because the speaker was spewing out acronyms faster than he was flipping through his slides. She left the room on the DL to gather herself together. (Down low, that is.)

As I write this and reflect upon a recent conversation with someone who kept saying LBH multiple times, I’m not sure if I’m being just too damn critical and/or judgmental. If so, please be honest with me. 

However, maybe, just maybe, I’ve got you thinking of a phrase or two that doesn’t pay in your world.  






8 thoughts on “The Phrase That Pays

  1. Ha! “She left the room in the DL.” I see what you did there. Now I’m trying to think of the phrases that grate on my last nerve. I often refer to situations, such as intercom interruptions, as driving me crazy, but no phrases or words pop into my mind. Certain grammar mistakes irk me. And how can anyone survive in education w/out the ability to tolerate acronyms?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Let’s be honest,” frequently is the prelude to the speaker’s saying something negative in my experience. I find deliberate, cutesy acronyms a bore too. I commiserate with your friend who left on the DL! We once had a staff developer who kept saying “ectcetera” It drove me crazy.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We actually have District committees with acronyms such as PLAC (“I’ve got plaque tonight”), SLT (“going down to slut now”) and WAC (“We’ve got to whack tomorrow”). Hate it.
    And, have you noticed how everyone is saying “at the end of the day” these days?
    Great, fun slice, Keith.


  4. This is fantastic…and yes, I have a few that get under my skin too!

    “At the end of the day” — Nope. Just nope.
    “Stay in your lane” — Maybe it’s because I’ve been on the wrong end but I strongly dislike this one.
    “It is what it is” — this one drives me nuts. Enough so, my friend and I created a comeback…”unless it’s not.” That usually gets people’s attention. 🙂


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