Monday, March 01, 2010

We've Heard it All Before

I'm enjoying David Eddie's book, Housebroken: Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Dad. My copy is an old uncorrected proof of the 1999 release that I've had lying around for years. Now that I am, like its author, a bona fide househusband and part-time freelancer, I felt now was the time to crack its flimsy cardboard spine.

A good read it is, too. But that won't stop me from picking a few nits. On page 115, for instance, Eddie describes an ill-fated job interview for a position he really didn't want. It begins:

I passed the first round of interviews with flying colors, talking a blue streak until they gave me the green light to see the silver-haired honcho.
I haven't seen a parade of cliches like that since...well, since last night's Olympic closing ceremonies (I mean, really--inflatable Mounties and beavers? Hockey players and lumberjacks? Why not just douse the crowd with maple syrup, eh?). But maybe it's intentional, you say--the author here is playing off the first cliche of "flying colors" with the "blue streak, green light, silver-haired" combo. I'm not so sure. A few pages later, we have this:

If I have one Achilles' heel, though, it's that I wouldn't mind being part of London's "smart set," rubbing shoulders, clinking glasses and trading bon mots through bad teeth with various brilliant characters like Martin Amis. I don't know, Martin Amis would probably avoid me like the plague, but this was my boyish dream.
Obviously, Eddie's world is a place where people suffer from Achilles' heels, shoulders are rubbed and people avoid others like the plague. This, in combination with the colorful sample above, compels me to accuse him of reckless cliche-mongering. The final irony here being that Martin Amis is the author of the critical manifesto, The War Against Cliche.