1. “Time heals all wounds.”
What??? There is no context in which this is even remotely true or logical. Time doesn’t heal all wounds – not even in the most basic, literal sense. Examples include everything from chipped teeth to severed limbs to the fact that you weren’t popular in high school. The latter debunks the figurative meaning of this cliché, which is that time also heals psychological and emotional wounds (i.e., “What’s that Bill, your wife and kids left you? Well, uh, time heals all wounds! So, good luck with that!”). You don’t need me to tell you that this is just outrageously dumb.
Revised cliché: “Time heals some wounds, like paper cuts and most low-grade rashes, but fails to address many others, forcing you to bury them deep down inside where they fester on your soul like mold on a damp sock.”
2. “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”
This one can be refuted with plenty of well-known examples: Alan & Robin Thicke, Martin & Charlie Sheen, Lionel & Nicole Richie, Michael Jackson & Blanket, etc. But, for a more personal example, let’s compare me to my father. My father was a blue collar man’s man who became a successful union carpenter after dropping out of high school, whereas I’m scared of my shed because once I saw a water bug in there. I think that anecdote is revealing enough to successfully refute this foolish cliché. On the other hand, like my father, I do enjoy drinking large quantities of rum. So I guess there’s a kernel of truth in there.
Revised cliché: “Both trees and apples enjoy rum.”
3. “Looks like the shoe is on the other foot now.”
As you can see, many awful clichés are just overused or nonsensical idioms. “The shoe is on the other foot” signifies that the roles in a situation have been reversed, usually with the connotation that someone who was previously powerless is now in a position of power. Unfortunately, the literal meaning of the phrase is kind of bewildering because a shoe that has been put on the other foot (like, say, putting your left shoe on your right foot) is actually very uncomfortable and awkward and all-around undesirable. That would be fine if people said this cliché when they had been screwed over, but it’s mostly used to rub somebody’s face in the fact that you’ve acquired the power they once held over you. Actually, it would make more sense to say something like, “HAHA! Looks like your shoes are on my feet now!” But that’s still kind of weird, because taking someone else’s shoes seems really desperate and probably unhygienic. In keeping with the spirit of the original, let’s go with…
Revised cliché: “Looks like the sock is on the other foot now.”
4. “Good things come to those who wait.”
This one flies in direct opposition to another cliché, “The early bird gets the worm,” which praises initiative and quick action. I’m inclined to favor the Early Bird cliché, weird worm imagery aside, since “Good things come to those who wait” sounds like the kind of thing you say to yourself for reassurance as you watch Netflix Instant for nine consecutive hours on the couch while using your undistributed résumés as rolling papers. You know what comes to those who wait? Glaucoma. And death. In that order. Everything else you need to take, like some of kind gangsta-ass Early Bird outlaw.
Revised cliché: “Good things come to those who are awake and wearing pants before noon.”
5. “All’s well that ends well.”
Look, I loves me some Shakespeare (in case you slept through high school English, All’s Well That Ends Well is the title of one of his plays), but this is a pretty silly saying that could be misused to justify the pain and suffering caused by anything that eventually had a positive outcome or that supposedly “served a greater good” (i.e., most major wars, the struggle minority groups must face to achieve equal rights, my extended bout with puberty, etc.). It’s simply too dismissive – just because something ends well doesn’t necessarily mean that it was fair or good or noble or that it shouldn’t have happened differently. Also, I have to imagine the ol’ Bard employed the title somewhat ironically – it pokes fun at the nature of his supposedly lighter works, which featured all kinds of violence and deception and nastiness, but which were considered “comedies” merely because they ended happily. All’s Well, just for example, is basically about this woman who tricks an unwilling guy into sleeping with her and getting her pregnant (LOL! Somebody get this guy a TBS sitcom, cuz He Knows Funny!).
Revised cliché: “Most things, regardless of whether or not they end well, suck horribly.”