An important part of journalism is getting good quotations. They bring sizzle and verisimilitude to even otherwise humdrum articles. But what’s good for journalism isn’t necessarily good for life. What follow are quotes that I never want to hear—and you probably don’t, either.
“We need to have a discussion.” Almost always bad news, particularly if said by your spouse.
“You have a gray hair. Want me to pull it?” No, I want you to pretend it’s not there.
“I have a new challenge for you.” Often said by the boss. For more verisimilitude, substitute “problem” for “challenge.”
“Let’s go see Brokeback Mountain.” Probably not what you want to hear from your best buddy.
“We have a situation with your van.” Said once by a tow-truck operator to my wife. Not good.
“Money isn’t everything.” Usually said by someone with more money than you have.
“I have a headache.” No comment.
“Have you forgotten what day it is?” Let me guess—my last day here on earth?
“Let’s just be friends.” Guess I can add her to my Christmas card list.
“I never knew you.” This is one time when you don’t want to ask, “WWJD?”
“It’s only a game.” Then why do they keep score?
“It’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game.” Often said by the dad who was screaming at the umpire for seven innings.
“There’s no money in the budget for that.” Then let’s go off-budget.
“That’s fine if Jesus works for you, but I believe there are many ways to get to heaven.” I suppose you could try driving on the left hand side of the road, too, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
“Let’s have a meeting.” And then afterwards we can get back to work.
“We did everything we could.” Then try something you couldn’t, Doctor.
“We need to run some more tests.” Or perhaps you could just measure me for my coffin right now?
“I’m not a short-order cook.” No, Mom, you weren’t, but I appreciate all those great meals, anyway.
“Wait ‘til next year.” Said annually by Cubs fans. Frequently followed by, “Anyone can have a bad century.”
“Life isn’t fair.” Often said by the beneficiaries of life’s unfairness.
“I’m Mike Wallace, and I have a few questions for you.” Get your verisimilitude someplace else, Mike.