SMALL TALK

By Tracy Chesney



Keep your fingers crossed because I’m either grasping at straws or shooting for the moon as I attempt to break all the rules one more time.

I heard it through the grapevine that Nov. 3 is National Cliché Day. Last year I wrote a column filled with clichés and nothing but clichés. Several of my co-workers, however, said it couldn’t be done again. “What’s done is done,” they said. “Give it up. Let sleeping dogs lie. That’s water under the bridge.”

So, I’m out to prove them wrong, because “once is not enough” isn’t in my book. The time is ripe, and there’s no time like the present to give it the old college try. After all, it’s now or never and you have nothing to fear but fear itself.

I told my co-workers that there’s more than one way to skin a cat. It’s a tough job to write a cliché column, but somebody’s got to do it. They kept saying, “It’s not all it’s cracked up to be.” But it’s a media circus out there, and I told them it’s more fun than a barrel of monkeys, and once you get started, you can’t stop.

So one night, as I was trying to catch some ZZZs, I decided then and there that I was going to do it whether they liked it or not.

After a sleepless night, I figured it was no skin off my back to go against the grain and make a big deal out of nothing. So I stuck to my usual routine, and jumped out of bed, but after I washed my hair, I couldn’t do a thing with it.

Then my nerves were shot, and my stomach was tied in knots, because it had just crossed my mind that I was late paying my bills, and I was trying to make ends meet. I had learned my lesson the hard way that money doesn’t grow on trees, but I had bet my bottom dollar that if you don’t succeed, try, try again.

Nothing was going my way, but I was willing to keep my chin up. As I walked outside, I started to think too hard and thinking this would be a nice day for a picnic but it started raining cats and dogs. I didn’t want to be stuck out in the cold, so I kept my shoulder to the wheel as I put the pedal to the metal and rushed to work, because I knew deep down in my heart that time waits for no man.

As I rushed to work to write my column, however, I was stopped in my tracks because a train was coming down the tracks. Then, I was stuck between a rock and a hard place, because there was no turning back. Either way you looked, you couldn’t see the forest for the trees, and it was the calm before the storm as I tried to make deadline by the skin of my teeth.

“For Pete’s sake,” I thought. “I’m going bananas, and I couldn’t do a thing about it.” At the rate I was flying, I thought I’d be at work in a New York minute. Not only was I late for work, however, but I forgot to eat breakfast again. And it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that you can’t have your cake and eat it, too, and it’s hard to work on an empty stomach.

It was a moving experience and music to my ears, however, as the train finally passed. By the time I got to work, however, my head was swimming, and I was making a list and checking it twice for some earth-shattering clichés. After all, clichés aren’t written in stone, and some clichés are Greek to me.

It was only a matter of time, however, before my column was due, and I was going to be in the doghouse big time in every way, shape or form.

I felt it in my bones, however, that I knew I could get it done on time. All I had to do was put two and two together. So I took the challenge, although I didn’t have the foggiest clue as to what I was doing.

I just followed my intuition, and as quick as a bunny and faster than the speed of light, I had my column written. I knew there was light at the end of the tunnel and that every cloud has a silver lining, and it just goes to show that anything can be done once you put your mind to it.

Besides, I’m ready to call it quits, and it’s as plain as day that the handwriting is on the wall (or in the newspaper). Plus, I’m fresh out of ideas.

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