World Cliché Day

World Cliché Day by Charlie O'Shields

World Cliché Day by Charlie O'Shields

Though there was a time when I wanted to be a writer, I realize I’ve always been at the end of the pecking order. I write like people talk and not in a lofty literary way, so as luck would have it, it’s World Cliché Day! You could have knocked me over with a feather! I can do this with one hand tied behind my back and tongue firmly planted in cheek!

I doodlewashed a visual cliché to celebrate the day, as I always wanted to sketch a stack of books and putting an apple on top was just the icing on the cake. My brain was bursting with ideas for this one and I just couldn’t sit still, but an idle mind is the devil’s playground, so it’s best to go for broke. After all, laughter is the best medicine.

It’s not that I haven’t tried to write with the best of them, it’s just that, when push comes to shove, I don’t want to sweat the details. Trying to clean up my writing is like putting lipstick on a pig. You could, but you’d just have a pig that’s fit to be tied and you’d also likely be bored to tears. I love puns and will happily butcher the English language to get a point across, probably due to my years in marketing and advertising.

I don’t have the patience to dot my i’s and cross my t’s, when I’m trying to tell a story. While spending a few years in big corporate America I was assaulted with hundreds of buzzwords that made people sound dumb as a post. I used to get my kicks by inventing buzzwords and phrases to see how many people I could get to use them. Turns out, a lot! Just say something as serious as a heart attack, pretend you’re eating your own dog food, and you’ll have everyone chanting right along with you.

In case you’re wondering, the difference between a cliché and a corporate buzzword is that a clichè actually makes some sense. Buzzwords simply prove the more we learn the less we know, and unless you are the lead dog, the view never changes. So you might as well jump on the bandwagon, or else risk being told that you zigged when you should have zagged.

In that environment I stuck out like a sore thumb and always felt like I was swimming against the tide. The one salmon not swimming upstream. I understand that a house divided can’t stand, but trying to pretend you don’t see the absurdity in it all was too exhausting. If I’m going to sound dumb, I prefer to be dumb as a fox. But in that world you’re damned if you do, and damned if you don’t, so I’m happy as a clam to no longer be there.

Instead, these days, I’ve let bygones be bygones and you’ll now find me always giving 110% to things I can actually care about. And though I love clichès, I know I’ve opened Pandora’s box here and it’s making me sound mad as a hatter. But we’ve lovingly built these little words and phrases as a culture and now that they’re out you just can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube. They’re a part of who we are, and as beautiful as the day is long.

Clichès are as good as gold, albeit fool’s gold, but still something to celebrate! And though sometimes in life you’re the windshield and sometimes you’re the bug, a good clichè will make everything right as rain again. How else would we learn that you can’t swing a dead cat or take knickers off a bare arse? But if you don’t feel you’re quite a master of clichè yet, start slowly as you must crawl before you can walk and sometimes you have to break a few eggs before you can make an omelette.

Okay, I should probably quit while I’m ahead and if you’ve made it this far you might be about to lose your mind. Only time will tell. But when you’re at your next party, try to use as many clichès as possible to astound your friends. I’ve given you a headstart, because In this little post, I’ve already implanted over 50 of them in your brain!  How’s that for a topper? Someday, you will thank me for this.

Profile photo of Charlie O'Shields (doodlewash)
Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!
48 Comments
  1. thepaperbaker 2 years ago

    THE BEST POST!!! Absolutely Fantasticly Hilarious!!! I don’t know how your brain could coherently put all those clichés together…genius😉

    • Author

      Awww thanks Nicole!! ❤️😃 I’m not sure I have a brain left after that many clichès! Lol Glad you liked this post!

  2. Teresa Robeson 2 years ago

    Hahaha! You are many levels of brilliant! Remind me never to battle wits with you. 😉

    Also, that apple…holy moly! It’s beautiful and realistic! You must stop doodlewashing food…they make me hungry, like Jodi’s food photos! ❤️

    • Author

      Lol…glad you liked my clichès, Teresa! ❤️😃 Thanks! Glad you liked my apple… For some reason I really feel like I understand how to doodlewash them. Probably because I just love food! But nothing compares to Jodi’s food photos! 😳🍴hehe

      • Teresa Robeson 2 years ago

        Your food paintings are every bit as good as Jodi’s food photos…different media! 🙂 x

      • Author

        Hehe..thanks friend! This truly a wonderful compliment! 😃

  3. Rachel Murphree 2 years ago

    LOL!!!! someday you will thank me for this….you are too clever by far, Charlie.

  4. Jacob 2 years ago

    The writing was on the wall as soon as I saw the title of this, Charlie, but I decided to throw caution to the wind and face the music. At the end of the day, though, this is one of the most hilariously irritating posts I’ve ever read. I’m especially glad you got the one-hundred-and-ten per cent in, as that’s one that rubs me up the wrong way to the highest degree. I could scathe at that one until the cows come home.

    We know that every cloud has a silver lining, here of course, I’m referring to your doodlewash. SUCH a visual cliché – and you made it bearable, when all is said and done. The apple is superb.

    This is too much.

    • Author

      Haha! Thanks so much Jacob!! There were so many visuals clichès to choose I didn’t know which one. Then I realized I’m rather good at apples, so why no start there?! 😉 And wow…see? I know you’d be a cliché master! Those are awesome! If I wasn’t feeling merciful I could have kept going. lol

      • Jacob 2 years ago

        “I know you’d be a cliché master!” Haha! I’m a bit of a walking cliché, so it was bound to be so.

        Yes! You see what you were responsible for? I was the same – it’s worryingly addictive once you get going, isn’t it? I’ll have to remember this occasion for next year! Tee hee! 😀

      • Author

        Yeah…if I could get my act together and get a doodlewash ahead I’d be able to announce the day properly, but I’m a day late and a dollar short at the moment. Oh dear…I can’t stop 😳

  5. Sharon Mann 2 years ago

    Lol! “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”….my cliche contribution. A delicious and scholarly doodle wash Charlie!

    • Author

      What a wonderful thing to say! Thanks Sharon! ❤️😃 And thanks for the added cliché …I swear they’re addictive once you start! Hehe

  6. Kari 2 years ago

    Brilliant!! Just brilliant! And I would come up a pithy cliché here but you used them all! Plus, I’m just not clever enough.. Lol. And your doodlewash is amazing too! ❤️

    • Author

      Thanks Kari!! Glad you liked my ridiculous little mind numbing post! Lol ❤️😃 It was easy to come up with these, but hard to string them together into something coherent. And glad you liked my doodlewash cliché too! 😊😃

  7. Jill Kuhn 2 years ago

    All work and no play makes Jack or in my case, Jill – A dull girl! 🎨 LOL Charlie! You’ve let the cat out of the bag now! 😊 I’ve always known that you can’t judge a book by its cover and this is why I find your art the cream of the crop! 🌟 And since the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, I like that you always look on the bright side and you can have your cake and eat it too! 😉🎂🎨

    • Author

      Hahaha!! I knew you’d play with me Jill!! ❤️😃 It’s really fun isn’t it?! Though I really can’t imagine our Jill stricken with “no play” that would be a fate worse than death! 😉

      • Jill Kuhn 2 years ago

        Oh, yes! I loVe word PLAY! ❤️😊 Great post my friend!!! 🎨🍎😊

  8. Jodi 2 years ago

    I am too tired to add any whimsical cliche’s to the amazing list going here, but you surely are the apple of my pie, Charlie O! (wink!) Seriously – that apple is so amazing! Adorable post. 🙂

    • Author

      Thanks Jodi! ❤️😃 I have zero clue why I like apples so much. I’m sure there’s a connection to something, but I’m too tired as well! It was all those clichès…they really take it out me. 😉

  9. artandmoondreams 2 years ago

    Beautiful painting, looks real enough to take a bite and flip through a few pages…excellent. Wonderful post, I think my brain melted trying to keep up, but it made me laugh in the process. Thank you for sharing.

    • Author

      I think my brain melted while writing it! 😳 lol So happy you liked my cliché doodlewash and story, Haunani! ❤️😃 This was a fun one to make…though a bit of a brain twister. 😊

  10. Loved this post, brilliant interweaving of cliches! I’m with you on the hating buzzword front- I used to work in advertising & it infuriated me when people said things like diarise (=schedule), verbalise (=say) & granular (=detailed) in all sincerity. I’m all for language evolving but its mindless slaughter makes me shudder!

    • Author

      Thanks so much Ella! Glad you liked this! 💕😃 Hehe… Great examples!! Haha…yeah, those ridiculous words said with no bit of irony always made me cringe!! And your last sentence is so true! Lol I couldn’t agree more!! 👍🏻

      • I used to keep a running list of the worst examples on my work computer… I think I lost it when I left. Was always planning to do something sneaky with it!

      • Author

        Oh no!! That’s an awesome list to have! Maybe I should make a project around corporate buzzwords someday. Would be cool to illustrate their literal meanings. Lol

      • Ah that’d be amazing! Yep like let’s sit down (said to someone already sitting down to mean lets have a meeting) or let’s chuck some ideas around and see what sticks

      • Author

        Oh wow…those are awesome…or awesomely disturbing is more accurate. It’s like people have to turn off their brains in an office environment. So weird! Lol

  11. herschelian 2 years ago

    When you string cliches together – which you and all the commenters have done brilliantly – you are also mixing your metaphors, something my English teacher couldn’t abide. She always quoted a statement once made in the UK House of Commons (Parliament) where someone said ‘ I smell a rat – I see it floating in the air – but never fear, I shall nip it in the bud…’ as an example. Mrs Boyes was a brilliant teacher, and you are a brilliant blogger. This was a stunning post, thanks so much.

  12. amaryllislog 2 years ago

    Creative people, oh how they play and never conform. My all out worst cliche is “wheelhouse”. I hear this day in and day out…”it’s not in our wheelhouse”. That and acronyms, it’s going to be the death of me. But as for that apple, its stunning!

    • Author

      Thanks Cathe! Glad you like my apple doodlewash! ❤️😃 And yes!! Or nooooo! Wheelhouse is so ridiculous. I hate all terms stolen from sports. And acronyms become like a secrecy society of people who are so proud they actually know what the hell they mean. I also hate “take aways” (sounds like Chinese carry-out) and “learnings” (odd though acceptable plural form used to describe ideas known to every 5 year old on the planet, but a sudden breakthrough to adults) Ugh! 😑

      • amaryllislog 2 years ago

        Oh Charlie, this all pains me. Where I work, if someone wants to talk about your “opportunities” aka screw-ups your sunk.

      • Author

        Ugh…that just makes me cringe. It’s funny that only creative people seem to recognize the absurdity, while everyone else just calmly accepts it as a perfectly passable reality.

  13. Tori 2 years ago

    You are the king of cliches Charlie, hats off to you 😄

    • Author

      Why thank you Tori! ❤️😃Something I’ve never thought I’d be happy to be called! Haha! But they are so fun!! 😊

  14. periwinkleblur 2 years ago

    Well written, fun to read and a share-worthy post! And, you know what they say, “all’s well that ends well.”

    • Author

      Thank you so much!! 😃And Haha! Awesome addition! 😉actually resisted using that as a closer because I thought it was, well… too cliché. Which was actually the whole point…😊 lol

  15. You deserve a medal for your services to World Cliché Day – above and beyond the call of duty, I’d say! Going forward, how will you top this? We’ll stay tuned…

  16. Rebecca 2 years ago

    ‘Can’t take the knickers off a bare arse’? That’s a new one to me… 🙂 Love both the post and the picture (from one ex-marketer to another)!

    • Author

      Thanks so much Rebecca! 😃😃 Yeah…I had to include a couple lesser known one or the post would be too clichè. Lol Glad you liked it!

  17. Myriam (Myr's Bytes) 2 years ago

    LOL! Marvelously funny string of clichés. I am horrified that there is such a thing as World Cliché Day. Why??? Oh well, at least you managed to turn it into something hilarious.

    Beautifully rendered stack of books and apple :-). Lovely colors and they pop off the page.

    • Author

      Thanks Myriam!! Glad you liked this post! Hehe😃 Yeah I was super shocked to discover a day dedicated to clichè, but it was fun to play with them for a post at least!

  18. memadtwo 2 years ago

    LOL…really the only appropriate response.

  19. […] something here] Days? Apparently it was World Cliché Day this week. So Doodlewash penned this entertaining post that’s guaranteed to raise a wry smile or […]

  20. […] day so it’s really fun. For example, I’ve illustrated everything from National Ferret Day to World Cliché Day. But this past April, when I reprised this theme, it seemed odd to me that there wasn’t anything […]

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