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Good for you

  ...and other odd things people say

Los Angeles comedian, UC engineering graduate and former P&G marketer Rajiv Satyal shares his take on confusing phrases

University of Cincinnati alum and professional comedian Rajiv Satyal

What’s a laundry list? Do people make a litany of things they need washed and dried? Well, they used to. Here are some other phrases that amuse me:

  • “That’s neither here nor there.” Where is it, then?
  • He told them to go to hell “but not in so many words.” It was probably a lot more words than that. Three is pretty concise.
  • “Put your best foot forward.” There are only two. It should be “better foot.”
  • I read about a murder that was a “hate crime.” Aren‘t all murders “hate crimes?” Isn’t that a pre-req? Never heard of a mild disdain crime.
  • “What do you want to drink?” “Just water.” That’s strange. Isn’t water one of the basic human necessities?
  • “No news is good news.” But “all publicity is good publicity.” How can this be?
  • If we say “bless you” after a sneeze to ward off demons, we should consider saying something stronger after farts.
  • “Stop sitting on your ass.” Where are people supposed to sit? If you sit on your hands, your chances of getting any work done diminish significantly.
  • I told my friend I’ve seen “The Social Network” three times. He asked, “Was it good?” No, you moron. It was horrid. That’s why I’ve dropped six hours of my life watching it.
  • People sometimes reveal too much information. This woman began a sentence with, “My ex-husband….” I don’t need to know that. So, I replied, “My parole officer….”
  • True story: At UC, our lab experiment went awry, and the janitor was furious, telling us that he spent “the better part of an hour” cleaning it up. Is that 31 minutes or 59 minutes? And if you’re mopping up a floor, isn’t the best part of that hour 1 minute?
  • Why do comics say, “That’s my time, folks?” No, it’s the audience’s time. There are usually 300 of them and one of you. How presumptuous. Haven’t these guys heard of weighted averages?
  • “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” Guess what. You also miss zero percent. In fact, because zero is the denominator, it’s undefined. You miss 23 percent. And 46 percent. And any other number.
  • “With everything going on this time of year….“ This is exclusively an excuse to get out of anything during holidays. Try using it in, say, August, and it totally won’t fly.
  • We say, “Good for you” when it’s something we would never do ourselves. Your friend says, “I got so frustrated with my boss over that presentation that I just left for the day.” “Good for you.” We’re really thinking, “Yikes!”
  • Why do menus read, “Prices Subject to Change Without Notice?” Obviously, it’s without notice. How would that work otherwise? Anytime there’s a modification, everyone who’s ever eaten there gets a text message? “Look at that, honey. 
  • Remember that restaurant we dined at three years ago, two time zones away? Dynamite rolls are now $2 more.”
  • I “hate her guts.” Really? What did her spleen do to offend you?
  • Outside of the Cyndi Lauper song, why are “true colors” always bad? You could push your friend from out of the path of a swerving car and the next day you honestly forget to leave a tip for a waitress. “You showed your true colors, didn’t you?” Dude, I just saved your life yesterday.
  • Why do we call them “amusement parks?” They’re mostly for kids. Kids don’t feel subtle emotions like amusement. “Son, we’re going to Kings Island. You won’t laugh but you’ll smile a ton.” Besides, I don’t feel amused when I lose my stomach for four minutes on The Beast. They should be called Hysterical Parks.
  • I’m “an only child.” The indefinite article implies there is more than one. It should be “the only child.” Although that just sounds like Jesus.
  •  We sometimes misuse “assume the best.” I told my friend, “If a girl doesn’t call me back, I just presume maybe a family member is sick or her dog died or something. Assume the best, you know?”
  •  “Are you guys dating?” “No, we’re just friends.” All of my friendships have outlasted my relationships. It should be the other way around. “You guys friends?” “Nah, we’re just married.”
  • We were “hoping against hope.” Why? Isn’t hope the one thing that’s supposed to help you?
  • Why do restaurants call those plastic 8-ounce things “courtesy cups?” There’s nothing courteous about them. If they wanted to be polite, they’d give us a regular glass. These should be called “obligation cups.”
  •  “Every corner of the globe.” The globe doesn’t have corners. It’s round.
  • Whenever I hear somebody say, “Shoot for the moon; even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars,” I always think, “Wow. This person does not understand astronomy.”

Guess it all comes out in the wash. That’s my time, folks.

Rajiv Satyal is a comedian, a 2000 engineering graduate and a former employee of Procter & Gamble (where he used to make laundry lists). He resides in Los Angeles and has toured with nationally known comics including Dave Chappelle, Kevin James, Tim Allen and Kevin Nealon.

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