So, from least annoying to most annoying, here are my top seven irritating idioms:
7. When it rains, it pours
No. It doesn’t. Sometimes it’s just a sprinkle.
6. The blind leading the blind
That’s just mean to blind people.
5. Six of one; half dozen of the other
It’s such a cumbersome way to indicate your indifference. I have a much faster, less verbose response for you: “I don’t care.” Try it.
4. No room to swing a cat
What sort of cruel measurement system is this?
3. To make a long story short
This is always a lie. Always.
2. ‘Til the cows come home
Cows don’t go anywhere. You never see a cow get dressed up to go to the theatre. They don’t go on vacation. They mostly stand around chewing some grass they started eating four hours ago. Cows are always home.
1. Small World
This idiom has been my least favourite for a long time. It's often used when two people discover they both know a third person they didn’t know they both knew. How this affects the size of the world, I’m not sure, but we’ve all heard the story:
- Person 1: Blah blah blah at some fucking wedding or something.
- Person 2: My cousin Steve was at the same fucking wedding or something.
- Person 1: Steve? Oh my god – I went to basket weaving class with him in the 90s.
- Person 2: Oh my god – I’ve known him since he was born. And you know him, too? Small world, eh?
- Person 1: Totally. I feel like this connection we’ve just made is really impactful, like, on a global scale, therefore I agree and also claim the world as officially small.
- Person 2: I actually just felt the walls around me shrinking.
I’m not a scientist or anything, but I’m pretty sure the network of people you know or don’t know has zero impact on the size of the fucking world. Idioms, as with most things related to humans, are a little narcissistic.
So, in short, don’t be that guy. Just say what you mean and mean what you say. Mum’s the word on idioms – don’t use that mumbo-jumbo.
And no swinging cats, okay? Use a measuring tape.