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Across the Editor's Desk: Stop kicking the can!

03/04/2013 @ 9:42am

We love words, don't we? We love a good turn of phrase, a good one-liner. It affords us a chuckle here. A smirk there. I also take a lot of personal interest in the life cycle of fashionable phrases – watching them become popular, only to fall out of favor. Here's an example: Kick the can down the road.

Our nation's political representatives brought this one on themselves. Throughout 2012, we heard incessant reports of the fiscal cliff (another example of an overused phrase).

But kicking the can down the road happens all too often. This proverbial can might get recycled. Even after the brinksmanship of the fiscal cliff, the farm bill may follow a similar path. I call it legislation by procrastination.

The phrase, kick the can down the road, did achieve something, however. Lake Superior State University, located in Michigan, included this phrase in its banished words of 2013 list. Other castoff words include bucket list, double down, guru, passion, spoiler alert, superfood, trending, YOLO (short for you only live once), and, of course, fiscal cliff.

Kick the can down the road drew a great turn of phrase from one reader in Livonia, Michigan. “I would definitely like to kick some cans of the human variety every time I hear politicians use this phrase to describe a circumstance that hasn't gone their way,” says Christine Tomassini.

I second her suggestion. Let's stop kicking the can down the road and just push it over the fiscal cliff.

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