Stupid Stuff People Say

I read the comments on a blog written by two grieving parents and found myself stunned by the stupid shit people say. Maybe they truly think these platitudes help, or maybe they just don’t know what to say, To that end, I have come up with a list of phrases I’d like to retire.

“God has a plan.” If you say this to me in my time of grief, ever, you will discover that you being punched in the neck is apparently also part of this plan.

“God must have needed another angel in Heaven.” When I saw this written over and over  in the comments on the blog I speak of, I cringed every time. I was so glad when she wrote that this is hurtful and she wishes people wouldn’t say it. I get the kind intention behind it, but seriously. It is horrible. As though God looks around one day and says, “Hmmm. I think I need more angels in Heaven. I’m going to give a baby cancer.” Say this to me, and I will bite off one of your fingers and then pronounce that “God must have needed more fingers in Heaven.”

Because He clearly has enough insensitive morons.

“I’m hugging my baby a little tighter tonight because of your loss.” Presented without comment.

And on a lighter note, “Just saying” or the even more offensive “Just sayin'” is intended to mean “I have just said something rude, mean, offensive, racist, misogynist, or evil and I intend to take no blame whatsoever. Because you see, I am JUST SAYING IT.” It’s like it flew out of me all on its own. I am merely the conduit of mad truth. What can you do? Nothing! I have no free will here. I am JUST SAYIN’. I am clearly not just thinking before I open my just sayin’ mouth.

This phrase is also taking the place of legitimate rhetoric. If a person says “Just saying,” then the supposition is that no support or evidence is necessary for what is being said. That it somehow stands alone in its truth. In my business, we call this an unsupported warrant. A warrant is a claim that must be proven. It cannot be presented as proven fact. People with weak argumentative skills throw it in at the end as a catch-all disclaimer of responsibility or a way of saying “and that, my friend, is the truth.” When it is actually just an opinion. Or as if to say that “talking” cannot be wicked or hurtful because it isn’t an action and only actions are evil.

Maybe we could take this to the next level. I walk up to you, grab your purse and yell, “Just stealin’!” and then you can’t call the police.

It did have comedic value, back before it was overused.

“Wow. That sweater is old. Not like vintage old, but like Hugh Hefner old.”

“Are you saying my sweater is ugly?”

“I’m just saying.”

Last night, on our first date night in three years (I’m just saying), Odie and I decided we should just randomly invent new platitudes.

Every aardvark has its suitcase.

Most chandeliers are hard to clean.

There’s a reason grizzly bears don’t fly airplanes.

Or we could combine some overused sayings to come up with new ones:

God must have needed another fish in the sea.

No one can make you feel inferior without taking lemons and making lemonade.

We’re not out of the woods in Kansas anymore, Toto.

Try not. Do. Or do not. Myeh. It is what it is (pull this out when you want to give no advice whatsoever).

There’s a fool thrown under the bus every minute.

Good things come to those who get the hell out of Dodge.

And that, my friends, is the truth.

 

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About Mrs Odie

Like you, only funnier.
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7 Responses to Stupid Stuff People Say

  1. JJ says:

    Amen. My personal “fav” is when someone posts something on facebook that someone else challenges. Then the original poster comments back the most hurtful and vile attack ever followed by, “thank you for your comment.” Why? So you could spend 20 seconds tearing it, and me, to shreds? Well, you’re welcome. Jerk. If they weren’t in my own family, I’d delete them. Stupid facebook politics.

    Also, LOL at “just stealin'” 🙂

    • Mrs Odie 2 says:

      Any time I have ever said “thank you for your comment,” what I actually meant was “Fuck you for your comment.” But I believe that’s obvious subtext.

  2. kelly says:

    Wonderful article. I realize that your list of “phrases to retire” wasn’t meant to be all inclusive, but as a grieving parent myself (although my losses were many years ago), may I add another phrase to your list? I always found “You can have another baby” to be particularly hurtful. Parents should know that one child can never replace another. I’ve told you before how much I like your writing and your humor, but after this article I can also see that I like your heart. Only a caring person would think to write this.

  3. Mindy says:

    Have you seen the movie “Rabbit Hole”? Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart play a couple dealing with the death of their four year old son. In one scene they attend a support group for grieving parents, and Kidman becomes increasingly annoyed at the banal platitudes being thrown around. After listening to one mom go on and on about how God must have needed another little angel, she blurts out “Why didn’t he just make one? I mean… he’s GOD. Why didn’t he just MAKE another angel?” The other group members are horrified of course, but Kidman simply shrugs (as if Just Sayin’).
    It is a darkly funny moment.

    • Mrs Odie 2 says:

      As much as I love the cast, I can’t watch movies about children dying now that I’m a mom. I also can’t watch Law and Order:SVU, but without Christopher Meloni, why would I want to?

  4. Liz says:

    You fucking rule.

  5. Meghan2 says:

    I love this post. I love the sentiment and your creativity.

    I loathe the “G-d has a plan” statement the most because even if G-d has a plan and even if I was blessed to be privy to why it is he needed to take my loved one away, how does this ease my grief? I still miss the company of my loved one lost, just because G-d has a plan doesn’t mean I am going to like it or feel positive about the loss I have suffered.

    I think the truth is that there is nothing we can say to a grieving person, particularly a grieving parent that will truley offer any amount of genuine comfort. Depending on the person, anything we say could be offensive to them. So, when I am expressing that I am feeling for them, I say pretty much the above in this form: “I know there is nothing I can say to ease your pain, please just know I am thinking of and praying for you.” Hopefully this doesn’t offend anyone.

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