Cut To The Chase

If there is one thing in life I am really terrible at – it is having serious personal conversations. I don’t know what it is or where it comes from – the irrational fear that being honest will hurt someone and the fear of the sadness of having to say goodbye. The ironic thing is – in my job – I have  important conversations with people about themselves and nothing comes easier. I guess when it’s someone else’s life – the repercussions seem distant, the effects will never be known to you. It’s a job that you’ve done, and the aftermath of which is not your problem anymore. You, the deliverer have delivered,  and now the problem must be reckoned with by that person alone. But when it’s you, your problem, your delivery and your reckoning – it all changes doesn’t it ? For me at least it does. And so out of an inability to get the horrible adulting out of the way – I end up in  a line of traffic –  the “should have saids”  like cars in mind keeping me at a personal standstill whilst the world bustles on around me.

But out of a series of personal revelations  I’ve come to realise that however horrible and sad goodbyes are, it’s not worth putting off things you know you need to do. Life is too short. I’d rather remember the good memories and not of the foreboding anxiety I had when I was constantly putting serious conversations off. That’s right – I’ve learned at last that sometimes you just need to cut to the chase.

The origin of the saying ” cut to the chase” is thought to herald from old silent movies. These 1920’s films usually followed similar plot lines – a tumultuous love affair depicted by longing glances between the hero and heroine. Now for whatever reason, these love affairs climaxed with a car chase.  Unorthodox I know but whatever floats your boat. Perhaps the first 3/4 of the movie was made for the female viewers and the director remembered that the male members of the audience would need a testosterone fuelled action scene to once again arouse their interest at the films end. Who knows, but it is believed that ” cut to the chase” was first used in this context and was a direction from the script of “Hollywood Girl” in 1929:

” Jannings escapes . Cut to the chase”

In modern day it is used less literally and more figuratively to describe getting to the point. It’s easier said than done, and sometimes it is simpler to be a passenger in life. But as easy as it is to go along with things and trundle along in a car that badly needs a repair, in a pursuit of something you know you do not want,  it is better to be the script writer and director of your own film. Cut to that chase and let the end credits roll to one chapter of your life and the titles run of the next.



Pull The Wool Over Your Eyes

Oh, what a tangled web we weave…when first we practice to deceive.”  Walter Scott

The “art of deception” seems a most  poetic euphemism for telling a lie. But sometimes it can be fair to assign such a lyrical description for such an deceitful action because – well sometimes – the fraud fashioning the lies is in fact a (con)artist. Lies can be so engrained within this opportunist’s own being that like art – with each talented brushstroke – their lie develops more and more layers of elaborative watercolor and charcoal , adding depth and dimension,  which seep into one another until it seems almost impossible that the lie cannot be anything but the truth.

Behold –  you’ve well and truly had ” The wool pulled over your eyes.”

But where did the wool come  from and are we talking lambs wool or fine cashmere? (Quality my friends is always worth paying extra for.)

Pulling the wool over one’s eyes is used  in modern day English as an idiom when describing the act of beguiling a naive soul into believing the web of mistruths that you spin for them. But this isn’t a web of silk , no, you are so outstanding in your act of enchantment, so talented at twining the fabric(ations) together, that you’ve stitched together a wonderous woolen wig to perch upon your victims unsuspecting head.

A wig you say ? A wig indeed. The saying is in fact thought to originate from the 17th century where it was unbecoming to show the world what your momma gave you and thus it was common practice to wear powdered wigs on top of your own hair. These wigs are still worn today however usually only in courts of law – unless of course King Louis XIII of France is your style icon (each to their own.)  Now these wigs were temperamental and so could slip and send the wearer into temporary darkness until readjusted – and so was likened to keeping someone in the dark by hoodwinking them with your lies. Similarly another suggestion for the origin of the saying is that in courts of law where it was etiquette to wear these woolen wigs, as it still is now, it was said that a great lawyer could enrapture the judge regardless of his clients innocence and thus was, through the power of speech, pulling the judges wig down to cover his eyes to blind him from the truth.

So Walter Scott had the right hunch all along with weaving webs of lies – but perhaps what he meant to say was :

“Oh, what a tangled wig we weave…when first we practice to deceive.”