What your momma never said

By Stephanie Chan

What good are "words to live by" if you can’t actually live by them? Most of our rules are too antique to apply, so I have reworked the following old clichés into brand-new clichés for the modern university student.

"You can accomplish anything if you try."

This is a lie. Yeah, maybe I can fix myself a sandwich if I’m hungry, but this ditty means something else. Its original intent was probably to motivate junior high students to get good marks. This cliché should be changed to: "What you really want to accomplish never comes to you, unless some extraordinary fate that is beyond comprehension lands directly on the middle of your head while you just happen to be doing a perfect cartwheel on top of a 1971 lime green Buick Riviera in downtown Winnipeg during a snowstorm."

"Keep your doors open."

No one wants to get robbed. If you keep yourself too open emotionally, you’re bound to get hurt too. How about, "It’s no longer paranoia to buy an expensive-ass security system for your tiny apartment in Edgemont. Always make sure you check IDs when you have parties, and register all guests. There’s no excuse for not buying a good screen door with a lock on it for the summer time."

"Think before you act."

Since when has thinking been that important in everyday life? Yes, it certainly helps on exams, but what about the rest of the time? For example, the other day, I saw a really cute squirrel with a peanut in its mouth run into the middle of the street where it sat for a full four seconds, contemplating an approaching car. The driver saw the squirrel and stopped. The squirrel was still thinking, so the driver started to get impatient. The car began to move forward and just as the speed got up there, the squirrel finished its think-session and made the wrong decision. Fat lot of good thinking did for that little fur ball. And it did so well on its exams. Remaining squirrels should "Act now and think later, if you’re still alive."

"If you don’t have something nice to say, then don’t say anything at all."

Remember that time when you were chatting up that hot guy in psych class and you had a piece of lettuce stuck between your teeth? Aren’t you grateful to your best friend for pulling you aside to tell you? And what about that time when you forgot to do up your fly… anyway, "If it means helping someone’s love life, do it, but politely."

"Don’t worry, be happy."

This one is rather counter-productive, don’t you think? If you’re always drunk, how are you going to finish your chemistry exam? The point is, you shouldn’t worry yourself into an early grave, and you shouldn’t walk around perpetually intoxicated or high. So, "Divide your time accordingly, and maybe find some middle ground for 10 minutes a day."

"What goes around comes around."

Sounds simple, right? Think again. There’s a lot of science to these things. For instance, when you catch a cold and sneeze on your roommate, who then coughs on someone in her kinesiology class, who then gives it to her other friend in her other class, it’s just gonna keep going. Each time it gets passed to someone else, the virus mutates just a little. Then, about three weeks later when you’re feeling great again, you get the same cold back, only you have no immunity. Therefore, the saying should be, "Don’t sneeze."

"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder."

Although you’ve been taught this since the day you first called someone ugly, I’m sure you still think that person is ugly. If I think you’re ugly, how is this saying going to make you feel better? And besides, how will you ever know, unless I’m rude enough to actually tell you? You should just "Find someone who thinks you’re sexy, and make sure they don’t let you forget it."

"Better late than never."

This is almost always untrue. When the bank tells you to make your credit card payment by the 15th, you can feel free to ignore it until next September, when you’ll be much poorer. I guess it depends on how late you pay it. How about, "Deadlines are called such for a good reason."

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