Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Silent but Deadly

I'm not talking about farts. I'm talking about words about farts.

One of my beagle mailing lists recently had a lengthy discussion on dog farts. I only mention this because it means I read the phrase "silent but deadly" a few dozen times in the span of a couple of days, and I would like to point out that "silent but deadly" is a hackneyed cliche. Now, I have nothing against hackneyed cliches. There are lots of them. In fact, I'm pretty sure "hackneyed cliche" is a hackneyed cliche. What bothers me are hackneyed cliches that people use with zest, as though they don't realize they are hackneyed cliches. I'll give you an example: Some clerk or other will ask me for my name, and I'll say "Smith," and the clerk will lower his voice, glance slyly left and right, say "Yes, but what's your real name," and then smile idiotically, proud of his originality and cleverness. I am always tempted to respond with something like, "You know, that still manages to strike me as original and clever, no matter how often I hear it, which is about once a month." But I don't, because I'm usually depending on this clerk to take care of my dry cleaning or bake me a pizza or something, and I don't want to piss him off any more than absolutely necessary, so I have a different comeback*.

"Silent but deadly" is pretty much the same. Everyone who uses it seems to think he or she is being witty and pithy. As I read the dozens of "silent but deadlies" on that mailing list, I could just picture each typist finishing the phrase with a little trill on the keyboard and thinking, "Boy, aren't I witty and pithy!"

No, you are not. You are stale and banal.

Given that farts are an important part of life, I think we need a new phrase to replace "silent but deadly," recognizing that this one just isn't funny anymore. How about a "ninja wind"? A "stealth nuke"? A "sarin under the radar"? A "quiet grenade"? A "woppin' without warnin'" (this is the redneck version)?

If you have any suggestions, please, please let me know.

* So, Greg (you ask), what is your comeback when people ask you if your name is really Smith? This:

Me: Do you know why the name "Smith" is so common?

Clerk: No, why?

Me (archly): Survival of the fittest.

And, believe it or not, about a quarter of the time the clerks don't get it, and just state blankly, seeming to say, "Who are you, and why am I talking to you?"

The fittest, indeed.

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lol, i guess i better phase SBD out of my arsenal (heh, i said arse) of fart descriptors. the thing is, though overused, everyone knows what it means...which is why it's overused (i'm catching on). i think i gasp for breath and yell GASFACE as i run away, though i'd like to point out that it's usually liz's gas emissions.

if you went around hollering "sarin under the radar", would that make any more sense, as sarin is odorless? or would people tackle you thinking that you're a sarin terrorist?

and funny, i have a cousin named sarin. i'll have to make a poisonous gas joke around her now. =D
i vote for ninja wind. or for particularly stinky ones, ninja wind of death and destruction.
No suggestion, but it does remind me of the old joke about the guy who went to the doctor because he had a problem with uncontrolable silent farts. The doctor's response was "Well, first thing we are going to do is fix your hearing aid."
What about the tried and true 'smelly farts you can't hear?'

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