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Seeking The End Of "At The End Of The Day"
by Andy Cowan
TheSyndicatedNews columnist

Andy Cowan, an award-winning writer, whose credits include Cheers and Seinfeld, regularly contributes humor pieces to the Los Angeles Times and the CBS Jack FM Radio Network.

It’s well beyond time to shine a light on a cliché that’s been spreading faster than cell phone pictures of people on cell phones... at the end of the day. No, I don’t mean that it assaults us merely at the end of the day. That I could handle. Because the end of the day is when I go to sleep, and I’d be blissfully unconscious and unaware of it.

What I’m referring to batters us at the beginning of the day... the middle of the day... the end of the day: “At the end of the day, Congress will support the troops.” “At the end of the day, it’s all about long-term growth.” “At the end of the day, people still need to be entertained.” End of the day or not, I’m just about at the end of my rope.

These all-too predictable predictors seem to have little knowledge that their end-of-the-day prognostications started sounding trite long ago. When the first guy said “at the end of the day,” it still held meaning. Much like the first time somebody uttered, “Whassup?” He was probably wondering what, indeed, was up.

How exactly do these initial comments of clarity transform themselves into clichés? Did the “at the end of the day” pioneer go home and later realize that his prediction had come true at the end of the day? Did his friends call him up and say, “Bob, I heard you mention that “at the end of the day,” it’s about keeping your options open. And here it is, the end of the day, and guess what? It is about keeping your options open – You were right! If my options were closed, I wouldn’t have had the option of calling you about this!”

Well, it’s easy to imagine Bob’s ego being pumped up by such approbation. If he made a correct prediction once, why not again? There’s always the end of the next day. And the day after that. And before you know it, TV’s talking heads, political leaders, and Joe Schmoes everywhere are making their own predictions about the end of the day.

The main reason, I’m guessing, “at the end of the day” has inundated the zeitgeist: In this unpredictable and dangerous world, it’s a lot safer than making long-term predictions. After all, you don’t hear people predicting what will happen “at the end of the month.” That is, unless it falls... at the end of the day.

ANDY COWAN is a writer, producer and performer. His credits include "Cheers," "Seinfeld" and "3rd Rock From the Sun." He can be reached at:

Published: Jul 14,2008 14:10
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