When Pigs Fly

The origin of the word cliche is a fun one.  When the printing press was first invented, blocks of commonly used words and phrases were made to help the printer along in doing their job.  Those blocks, called cliches, over time came to represent things said in popular culture, and thus the term cliche came to mean what it does today.

What are the cliches of our time, though?  Fail?  Epic?  Epic fail?  I miss your face?  While these meta-cliches are most certainly overused, so much so that they seem to have lost their meaning, when we think of a cliche we still seem to think of older phrases not used often anymore.  The irony of the whole thing is that while we overuse phrases like “epic fail,” we then place a taboo on the use of older, no longer popular cliches.

Reportedly, it is unintelligent to use a cliche; however, to say the word “fail” in every sentence is a sign of utmost intelligence.  I trust those of you reading this blog are bright enough to see the inherent problem in that assertion.

So I’ve decided to start bringing some cliches back.  No “I miss your face”s or “you are so fired”s.  I’m talking about going old school, the first of which I have not heard anyone say in years but remains a timeless classic, at least in my book.

…when pigs fly.

I’ve always liked the cliche when pigs fly.  I’m not sure why anyone would consider this to be taboo, or why it could be justified to call everything they come across “epic” (even when the thing they are describing is not, in fact, epic) and not fit “when pigs fly” into their daily language use as well.

The following are some examples of how you could employ when pigs fly in your every day conversations:

  1. Wife:  “Honey, do you want to go shopping for yarn with me tomorrow?”  Husband:  “Wife, I’ll go shopping with you for yarn when pigs fly!
  2. Waiter:  “Would you like to start off with an order of our new hot and spicy fried caterpillars?”  Customer:  “Pft!  When pigs fly!
  3.  Father:  “Are you going to do anything today, Son?”  Son:  “I’ll pause my World of Warcraft marathon to get off the couch and do something today when pigs fly!
As you can see, there are many ways when pigs fly can be employed, and while these ways may seem cheesy or old fashioned at first, eventually they will fit in well with your nonstop, incessant use of contemporary language.  And if anything, at least you can rest comfortably in knowing that, as compared to today’s overused “fired”s and “amazing”s, when pigs fly actually makes sense.

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