Once upon a time (This beginning is so unoriginal, the autocomplete on Microsoft Word saw it coming), I thought clichés were cool. And they still are, to a certain extent. But nowadays, I find them in the wild (cliché?) all too often, like a terribly camouflaged chameleon. And it bothers me because my creative writing prof told me, “Clichés are unoriginal thought. So be suspicious of them” and if I were to go further, I would add “kill them wherever you find them. They’re like rats in the attic” (cliché?). And ever since then, when I hear one, it’ll hit me with an impulse to cringe, and comment on how bad clichés are.

You don’t believe me when I say clichés are bad? I’ll hit you with a truck filled with clichés and see how you like it. I’ll turn you into a bull at a China shop. You’ll never see it coming. But don’t worry, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. And if at the end of all of it, you end up A-OK, I shrug and say ‘it is what it is’ (my prof especially hates this one).

Imagine a love triangle. Michael was the original love interest of Samantha, but then Charlie snuck in from behind, took Sam by surprise, swept her off her feet, made her lose her marbles, and now she’s slightly crazy after being manipulated by Charlie. It took Mike some time to realize how bad the situation was and called an intervention. Mike invites Charlie to his house while Sam, who lives with Mike, is working overtime.

“Yo.” Mike says.

“Hey… Nice apartment… I love the picture of Samantha and you on the mantle.” Charlie says.

“Thanks. Sam and I worked hard making this our home, not just a house.”

“Yeah, it doesn’t take a genius to figure that out.”

“Already passive aggressive?” Mike asks.

“Well…you get what you give. Treat others the way you want to be treated, right? So, here’s a taste of your own medicine. Don’t think I forgot the last time you called me.”

“I want a fresh start. A blank slate. To talk through this. Like adults. Sit down, please.”

“I won’t sit down. And talk about what? Samantha? All I know is that she’s the fuel for my fire. My source of desire.”

“Stop pissing me off! I know you don’t talk like this.”

“What are you talking about?”

“You’re holding a double-edged sword. You're way too close to the edge of the cliff.” Mike says.

“Pick on someone your own size.” Charlie is four inches shorter than Mike, while Mike is a professional kickboxer.

“I’m trying my hardest not to get mad. This is your last warning! Do not take me lightly!”

“Okay. I’ll stop. But before I do, can you read me a bedtime story?” Mike punches Charlie but restrains his full force at the last second, sending Charlie to the ground. Mike takes a step back and a deep breath.

“Ouch. That stings a little. Resorting to violence this quickly? Chill out. I was testing your patience.” Charlie says as he gets up. “Goddamn, that stings. Shouldn’t have poked the beehive… Sam. I mean Samantha, what about her?” Mike only tunes in to last sentence. He steps forward.

“You son of a… You have no right to call her Sam!”

“I got your message. I’m picking up what you’re putting down. I’ll pack it up and leave.”

“Still talking like that? Do I need to beat you to a pulp before you stop acting up?”

“I’m leaving.”

“You don’t leave until I say so!” Mike says.

“I can leave whenever I want.” Charlie says as he walks out the door. “Don’t get physical with me. It’s not gonna solve anything. I’ll came back when I’ve cooled down. Before I forget, there’s something very important in this letter that I don’t want you to see until you cool down… And remember, there are no mistakes in life. Just happy accidents.” Mike snatches the letter. Three pages stapled together and folded. Mike became quiet, regretting his actions, knowing Charlie’s agitating him on purpose. Especially with that Bob Ross quote. He paced around for a minute, before closing the door.

Charlie called the elevator and left. Mike sits down with letter in hand, stares at it, and unfolds it. The first page is filled with Lorem Ipsum. Effectively garbage. He flips it over. More Lorem. A final flip that almost tears the page and right in the middle of the rest of the Lorem.

‘I fucked Sam.’

End scene. Wow, I wanted to end it properly so stopped the cliché thing near the end. But I hope you realize how terrible the beginning was. It felt unoriginal and bland. The execution was odd. Even if I’m a bad writer, you should see how adding those clichés, any of them, did not improve the story and made it seem more like a cringey comedy with a poorly written dramatic scene. An example of bad writing usually tells more than an example of good writing. So please, don’t use clichés.

I’m sorry if you read that and got bored.

Clichés originate from the typesetting industry. Some phrases appeared so often that workers would string letters together into said phrases and chucked them into the ‘cliché’ bin, where all unoriginal thought lay.

I’ll give you two examples of clichés and the context it was used in within the last few days of my life.

I was going to one of my math professors, Mark’s (alias), office hours on Thursday. I wanted to drop by, say hi, and leave. Outside his office door, I see a woman waiting outside. As I approach, it became evident people were inside the office. She was waiting her turn.

“Are you here for Mark’s office hours for 301?” I say.

“I’m here for 102. The course coordinator doesn’t have office hours today and I’m struggling with the assignment.” She says.

“Yep. That assignment is real tough for no reason.”

“It’s difficult…” She says. Making eye contact, she whispers, “You look similar.” I completely ignore her comment.

“What major are you going for?”

“I came in for Economy but realized I don’t want to be unemployed when I graduate, so I also took Statistics.”

“There’s a lot of math in stats.”


“Yeah, I’m not joking… Math’s not that bad. And better you know now than later.”

“Huh.” She replies. After a few seconds, she continues, “I feel like I’ve seen you somewhere.”

“Really? Did you go to BCSS?”

“No way. I did.” She replies.

“What’s your name?”

“Samantha” (A fake name. She’s nothing like the Sam from the previous story but I thought it’d be funny).

“What! I remember you! I’m Fahad. We had Grade 9 business together.”

“And grade 9 geography.”

“That’s right!” I said.

“Wow. What a small world.” And there it is, the cliché. Worth reading a whole novel for? No. At least I skipped parts of our conversation. In case you can’t tell, I’m not the best conversationalist.

Cliché Case 2: I’m playing Celeste and haven’t said anything for an hour except an occasional ‘what?’ after I die unexpectedly. My friend, Hamza (alias) was talking and ended his sentence with: “… once in a blue moon.”

“That’s a cliché.” I say.

“What’s the point of saying that?” Hamza says.

“He’s talking about how a moon is never blue and how stupid it is.” Harjot (alias) says.

“No. That’s not what I meant. Clichés are unoriginal. You should never use it.”