IT can only get better.
If anyone says this to you, it’s all right to kill them.
It is up there with a whole mountain of cosy little platitudes whose terseness makes them sound wise, but which merely hides their stupidity.
The fools who trot out this stuff don’t realise that unless you’re dead it can always get worse; and once you are dead you won’t be complaining about it and they won’t be talking to you anyway — unless they are more of a halfwit than they already appear to be.
So when you have just written the car off and your wife has left, "it can only get better" is just unctuous rubbish. It can definitely get worse.
The car insurance has probably lapsed. Your wife could come back!
Oscar Wilde had the right idea. He coined his own platitudes: if a thing’s worth doing it’s worth doing badly.
Undeniably true, and much more satisfying than its distant cousin: if a thing’s worth doing it’s worth doing well.
The trouble is we have to live by this rubbish. Someone trots out five cosy words through half-shut eyes like some kind of loin-clothed swami, and we all gasp in awe. Or, possibly, stupidity.
Take: be grateful for small mercies
What is a small mercy, anyway Someone robs me of my life savings, but gives me $5 back?
I have to be grateful for that! I’d be more grateful if I could hang him by his genitals and pour boiling oil through his nostrils to fry his brains. Assuming they had any.
Or: the meek shall inherit the earth.
We’re not talking wildly impossible dreams here. We are talking about the principles people live by. Name me anyone in business, religion politics or your average family who is both meek and inheriting the earth. The meek inherit custard pies. It’s a well-known fact.
And as far as inheriting the earth is concerned — what the hell does that mean!
The only things I inherited were a clockwork train set and set of rusty chisels. From my father.
Every cloud has a silver lining
This is a close relative of ‘it can only get better’ and whoever came up with it never lived in Townsville.
There are clouds in Townsville that have linings like the borders on funeral cards. I’ve seen them.
Have you noticed a common thread in all this stuff. It’s all stuff that urges you to look on the bright side.
The car insurance has lapsed and my wife is calling from the doorway "I’m hooome!" and I’m supposed to look on the bright side?
Does this mean that if I win Gold Lotto I can look on the dark side? How come no-one ever says that?
It’s because ‘it can only get better’ is a comment made by smug twerps who think they’re better off than you.
And we consent to this moral hijacking because it seems ungrateful not to. We imagine there’s something good and noble about positive people that we lack.
Garbage! They are merely marketing executives, or priests, and we need to remember that they suffer the same miseries the rest of us do. And with the same crumbling negativity that we suffer. You can see it in their eyes.
It’s because they know I’m going to pour oil up their noses and I’m going to say, sweetly, it can only get better.