A Michael Scott thing to do - word nerd alert

Cliches are the only thing I collect, well, did collect. I use them more in my head than out loud. There are 2 or 3 that I use in response to something Brad says, and I’ve been so faithful in saying them, that he knows when they’re coming and can often beat me to it. For instance, whenever Brad says, “Might as well…” I have to say, “Can’t dance.” My mother said it, “I might as well, I can’t dance.” (To get her Arkansas correct though, you have to use the long “a” sound for “can’t”.) Pretty nonsensical; I’ve even asked her the meaning. Just something to say. It’s still amusing between me and Brad. He’s very longsuffering. But I’ve started to annoy myself inside my head with cliches.

When Savannah was “reasoning” with me into getting her way, I gave my final opinion by saying, “That’s the bottom line.” Then I had to explain the meaning to her, which I kept short for a 7 year old. Perhaps this originated from an accountant filing taxes. But if the meaning isn’t obvious or easily deduced, I wonder how much difficulty does it cause 2nd language English speakers? The only effort I’ve put into the kind of listening they do is in translating thick accents, where I fail miserably.

One of the first things I noticed about this coast is a lot more and broader immigration than there was on the East Coast. In simplifying cliche expressions for foreigners, I worry about talking down to them. It seems like a very “Michael Scott” thing to do. I could just use my normal speech, rife with “how come?” instead of just “why?”, and much more, but I’m sure they nod understanding when they have little idea what I mean. I would too if I were in China or Laos. It must get exhausting, always listening extra hard.

I’m also wondering if thinking this way in my vocabulary is what’s kept my vocabulary from growing. I have a habit of not committing to memory very obscure words. I assume the big 50 cent words aren’t practical, so I find myself looking them up 3 and 4 times. But I’m quitting with the cliches, which will take time, mostly because of the annoyance and the confusion caused, hopefully making room for a better vocabulary!