You know what happens when you assume? You make an “ass” out of “u” and “me”.
So we should never assume anything? Yes, people sometimes make absurd inferences about particular situations, but can we agree that this is a case of coincidental word structure and not a divine instruction that we should never make inferences? Do non-English speakers consistently make ridiculous assumptions because they don’t have this etymological convenience? This is like saying “never go farther, because then you have ‘fart’ed on ‘her’.” The problem isn’t the concept of assumption; rather, it’s how you got there in the first place that worries me.
Sports build character.
Americans often ascribe attributes to certain activities. If we put a musical instrument in a kid’s hands, he or she will be more creative, right? Yeah, and giving kids calculators will make them better at math. True, kids who play an instrument tend to be more creative, but correlation does not necessarily mean causation. The same is true for sports. Coaches, parents, mentors, and others build character by teaching correct values, but there are no morals that participation in sports will instill. I would know.
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
First of all, lemons aren’t bad. What if we replaced “lemons” with a real minor annoyance? No matter how you figure it, it’s hard to come up with a second clause of the sentence: “If life gives you a splinter, painfully remove it with sterilized tweezers and make a bird house out of the resulting tiny piece of wood!”
Also, lemons are not the only ingredient in lemonade. To make lemonade, you need water and tons of sugar. This aphorism translates to “sugarcoat your problems to suppress the bitterness they cause.”
People who use this phrase have never dealt with true problems in life. They can’t differentiate more serious concerns from their own minor issues. They say stuff like “I crashed the Ferrari, but when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade, so I used the insurance money to pay off my other two cars.” When these people consider problems like death, poverty, or chronic illness, they consider these issues just “lemons”, even though they’re far worse situations. “Well, that’s too bad about those hundred thousand people dying, but when life gives you lemons…”
This phrase isn’t about inspiring people to pull themselves up from their bootstraps. It’s about demeaning everyone else’s problems to the point of making excuses for yourself when you don’t want to help.
Any comment involving exaggerated adversity.
Every five seconds on Twitter, someone on your feed will whine about all the people who supposedly held him or her back. What this means, I’ll never know. It’s inconceivable to these folks that millions of people around the world go through the same trials or worse every day. In their eyes, they have succeeded (though this claim is often dubious) despite the fact that supposedly every friend or relative they’ve ever known has, for whatever reason, tried to destroy their lives at every turn. Just because someone says “no” to you, doubts you, or simply doesn’t like you does not mean that is any sort of adversity. You’re rationalizing your losses and bloating your successes when you make this absurd claim.