bro·mide [broh-mid] -n. 1. Chem. a. a salt of hydrobromic acid consisting of two elements, one of which is bromine, as sodium bromide, NaBr. b. a compound containing bromine, as methyl bromide. 2. potassium bromide, known to produce central nervous system depression, formerly used as a sedative. 3. a platitude or trite saying. 4. a person who is platitudinous and boring.
I tend to think that any word with multiple meanings should possess all those qualities at once. Working from this basic fallacy, I shall attempt to scientifically formulate a cliché so powerful that it will cause anyone hearing it to fall into a coma. In order to do this, I shall first acquire the elements required in order to create the compound. It goes without saying that these platitudes are highly volatile and should only be handled by trained wordsmiths.
The first ingredient is a fairly new discovery, but one which has been shown to be extremely potent.
It’s like Marmite – you either love it or hate it.
While it originated in an advertising campaign, this simple phrase has captured the public imagination and is now applied in any circumstance that requires a choice – i.e. any situation ever. It’s been co-opted by the British National Party, as well as other less dangerous but equally moronic dullards. The rapidity of its integration is due in no small part to the fact that it is the greatest lie ever told, scoring almost a perfect ten on the Hitler Scale (which is the standard dataset for lies vs gullibility of mass populations). Time and time again, objective studies have shown that the majority of people have no strong opinions either way on the taste of brewer’s yeast, and yet individuals buy into the falsehood rather than trust their own senses. Thus, the potency of the Marmite lie makes it an ideal base ingredient for our concoction and shall be ascribed Mm in all subsequent formulae.
Such instantaneous insipidity can be volatile, however, without a complimentary element to balance it out. It seems almost paradoxical to speak of depth in regard to clichés, yet there is a powerful dullness to our next ingredient, which is much loved by readers of self-help books (and ogres).
It’s like an onion. There are layers that need to be peeled away
Many things have layers, but the onion has become the standard bearer of all concepts of stratification. While it is true that onions do have layers, the use of this particularly trite piece of wisdom has another onionish quality – namely that it induces people to cry uncontrollably like Glen Close in Fatal Attraction (often while holding a knife, although the blonde bubble perm is a matter of personal preference). The addition of the onion metaphor adds the illusion of depth to our ultra-bromide formula and has been assigned the symbol On.
While the layers of the onion metaphor give depth, the quantities produced are insufficient to thoroughly saturate the recipient in vacant pseudo-knowledge. To rectify this, a multiplying element must be introduced. With this in mind, there is only one ingredient that can possibly fit the bill.
It’s like buses – you wait ages for one and then three come along at once
While the truth or otherwise of this statement may vary depending on geographical or historical circumstances (London buses for example, were notoriously unreliable in the latter half of the twentieth century, but have undergone somewhat of a renaissance under the Transport for London regime of the early 2000s), the enduring legacy of the bus maxim is now accepted as universal truth. As with all laws of nature, it can be applied to anything in any context and its purpose within the ultra-bromide is that of a mathematical multiplier. Rather than assigning a symbol, we take the integer values from the aphorism itself and apply them to our pre-existing elements Mm and On.
There is a danger, however, that using a multiplication factor could duplicate any small grains of truth contained in the constituent parts and transcend the confines of cliché and enter the realm of the truism. Thankfully, such an occurrence is negated by the use of the bus maxim, in that the initial waiting period indicates that while waiting for one (1) bus, no (0) buses are present. As multiplication by zero produces zero, there is therefore nothing to be multiplied when the three (3) buses finally appear. Hence we arrive at the complete equation, thus:
Which, when translated into plain English, reads something like this:
It’s like an onion covered in Marmite – you spend ages trying to peel off one layer, then three come at once.
Studies are ongoing.