It’s important nowadays to think outside the box, unless you’re cuter than a box of kittens, or dumber than a box of rocks. (More)

Viva Cliché, Part III: Outside the Box (Non-Cynical Saturday)

This week Morning Feature considers clichés. Thursday we looked back into the mists of time at history repeating itself. Yesterday we why a penny saved is worth two in the bush. Today we conclude with how clichés rot from the head down. Or something.

Rocky Roads

You don’t often see a box of rocks, except at a geology lab. You might see a rocky road, especially on the ice cream aisle, or a road less traveled, which the ice cream aisle isn’t. The road of life isn’t either. Less traveled, that is. The road of life is often rocky, unless it’s paved, usually with good intentions. But those roads go somewhere else, where you go if you have a heart of stone.

And you gotta have heart – preferably without any geologic content, unless it’s gold – so absence can make it grow fonder. Or go yonder, if you’re a heart breaker. Hearts and flowers go together well, as do hearts and chocolates. The flowers grow along life’s path, always wandering. As for the chocolates, they come in boxes and you never know what you’ll get. Ideally not rocks, but some rolls are nice.

Glass Houses

You can throw stones, although you shouldn’t from inside a glass house. Or inside any house, really, unless all of your valuables are in boxes. So skip that. Or skip the stones. Or school. Or rope. Or through the raindrops. You can even skip trace, if you’re a bounty hunter. But you shouldn’t hunt life’s bounty. That might cause a mutiny.

You can also throw someone a bone, as long as it’s not a curve ball. Life throws enough of those on its own. You can throw scraps, though they may end up, well, up. Which is actually down, usually, but if you throw down you may have to throw a punch and then you need a good reason or they may throw the book at you. Better to throw in the towel, but not the bathwater, or at least not with the baby. That’s a very bad idea. Take it from me.

Of Limits and Bulls

Or take it easy, or to the limit. You can also take a bath, or a dump, though people don’t actually take those. They usually leave them. Unless they’re collecting stool samples. Maybe for bars that have none, except other eventualities. Of if they’re collecting cow patties.

To do that, you may need to take the bull by the horns. But avoid china shops, because if you break it you own it. Sorry, but them’s the breaks, and breaking up is hard to do, as we’ve seen in Iraq:

The good news is that we did get rid of Saddam Hussein, one of the most evil men the world has seen. But when the people we put in power strung him up on the gallows his last words proved almost true. “Iraq without me is nothing,” he said.

For sure it was shattered. And by the time the last American troops pulled out in 2011, the Iraqi amphora might not have looked like new. There were plenty of seams showing. But it had been glued together into a recognizable form.

Then the Iranians and their Iraqi allies and dependents, notably Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, started playing games with it. That Sunni fragment that took so long to fit in place? Maliki no longer wanted to pay for the glue that kept it there. And the Kurds? They were always ready to drop off. Now that’s just what they’re doing.

“Stuffed Shirts”

We got into Iraq because of boxes and shirts. See, President Bush was the CEO president and CEOs need to think outside the box:

High-tech companies are increasingly bringing on CEOs who know relatively little about technology. There are several reasons Uniscape CEO Steve Adams, who has a Ph.D. in 20th-century British literature (Florida State ’82), quit a college teaching job at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. One was a 50% pay raise to become an entry-level technical writer.

Not long ago, “I thought a chip was something you had with dip,” says Adams, who runs a company that helps global companies with Web sites that must reach out to a variety of languages and cultures.

Adams says he brings something fresh to the table, often quoting poetry to computer scientists and electrical engineers. One of his favorites comes from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”

And those little-minded hobgoblins wear shirts, of the stuffed variety, according to former White House communications director Karen Hughes:

Because he’s not a typical Washington insider, President Bush isn’t beholden to typical Washington thinking. He’s able to “think outside the box,” as we say in Texas. I remember soon after he took office we had a freewheeling discussion on ways to counter global warming. While the stuffed shirts were talking about lowering emissions, President Bush was the one issuing the bold new ideas – invading Antarctica, pouring Gatorade on the sun, fast-tracking construction of an eight-story air conditioner in Nebraska to cool the country.

So while those stuffed shirts insisted that a terrorist attack by 19 Saudi nationals who’d trained in Afghanistan meant we should take out training bases in Afghanistan, President Bush thought outside the box and decided to invade Iraq.

He sold the idea with a crock of bull from a source named CURVEBALL. Of which life then threw several. But he swears he had good intentions, paving that rocky road to you know where.

Now his minions want us back in Iraq, boxed in, a stone’s throw away from Syria and Iran. And that’s what thinking outside the box gets you, when you’re dumber than a box of rocks.


Happy Saturday!