Sashaying Along with More Clichés

Melvyn Magree

Everybody says: “Everybody” generally is all the persons that agree with the speaker.  Anyone with a contrary opinion is ignored.  A similar expression is “Everybody knows”.  I wonder if those who use this expression have asked everybody, at least in town, or just assume they can speak for “everybody”.

Unwritten law: This is often used as an excuse for using a gun to “defend” oneself, even against unarmed people.  According to Robert Traver in Anatomy of a Murder there is no unwritten law.  There are cases where killing another person are justified by written law.  These deal with cases in which somebody is in grave danger.

We often read or hear of someone claiming their “2nd amendment rights”.  If they are careful readers of the Amendments to the Constitution, they would see that the Second Amendment includes “the right of the people to bear arms”.  If we forgive them the grammatical error of using a plural noun when the Amendment uses a singular noun, we still have to think about their using an individual noun when the Amendment clearly has a collective noun.  Also, we should consider that the Southern States wanted this amendment to keep the Federal government from taking away their slaves.  Being armed did not prevent the loss of their slaves.

Often used with “2nd amendment rights” is the phrase “law-abiding citizens”.  How do we know that each and every “legitimate” gun owner is a “law-abiding citizen”?  We don’t.  How many “law-abiding citizens” go well over the speed limit, tail-gate, and run red lights?  How many “law-abiding citizens” regularly cheat on their income taxes?  Many of us will speed to pass an erratic driver or not bother to put some small item on our tax forms.  But some “law-abiding citizens” make it a practice to ignore the rights of others on the roads and to have large amounts of unreported income.

Worse yet, when these “law-abiding citizens” have a gun in their hands, they ignore the law for their own advantage.  Twice this bird-hunting season we found a shotgun shell by our gate, a gate with a no-trespassing sign, a drive that indicates it is private property, within 500 feet of two dwellings that can be seen from the road.  This is not an isolated incident.  We have had hunters shoot down the driveway with a red truck clearly visible, shoot into the brush by a no-trespassing sign across the road from a house with people outside, and many others who ignore the hunting regulations of knowing where they are hunting and to always ask permission.  Law-abiding hunters I know have asked permission and have gracefully accepted my denial.

“Hard-earned dollars” is one of the most sweeping political phrases.  How hard a person works to be paid can vary by job and by the task of the moment.  Sometimes a job can be so enjoyable that we forget to even look at the clock.  Sometimes a job can be so boring that we are constantly looking at the clock.  Some jobs have a bit of both.  One day everything goes great and seems like play; another day everything goes wrong.  These descriptions can fit both jobs involving hard physical labor and jobs sitting at a desk.

Does Santa Claus get hard-earned dollars?  Some Santas enjoy the job so much that getting paid is just icing on the cake.  Others, like me, were bored and couldn’t wait for the day to end.  I did do my best and was praised by management for my efforts and demeanor.

Does a bus driver get hard-earned dollars?  Depends.  Some drivers are people-oriented and the job is almost playing with a big toy.  Other drivers may have difficult passengers who make the drivers look forward to the end of the day.  I’ve been in both situations.  I had enough unruly students and coaches that I felt every dollar was hard-earned and still not enough.  On the other hand, I’ve been on charters where I napped in the bus, attended plays, or just sat around talking with others or reading.

Self-made man: show me a “self-made man” and I’ll see a self-deluded man.  Did this person never have parents or other care-givers?  Did this person teach himself to read?  “If you can read this, thank a teacher!” is a great bumper sticker that too many ignore.  Did this self-made man build all the widgets in his empire, staff all the stores in his domain, and make each and every decision needed?  Hell no, he depended on the work and ideas of dozens, hundreds, or thousands of others.  And sometimes even government grants.

Where would Google be without the government grant to work on a super search algorithm?

Where would Apple be without the likes of the team that worked on the first Macintosh?  Where would it be today without a super factory manager in Fremont, California.  Steve Jobs and Tim Cook may think of some themes to explore, but could they work out all the details of the user interface or write the thousands and thousands of lines of code?  And they would not have made a dime if there hadn’t been the local dealers and the thousands of UPS and Fed-Ex drivers who put the computers in the hands of the end-users.

And where would all these entrepreneurs be without the government research that created the internet?  By the way, the internet was not created to foster business, but to create a network with redundant routing for our “defense”.

Maybe we should stop electing lawyers and start electing English teachers.  The latter know what words mean, not what they want them to mean.