In So Many Words

Info-Comics by Larry Paros


Calling Sassy People Out

Are you listening carefully to what I am about to say? Literally, "Read my lips." It's a little something I borrowed from George H.W. Bush who used the phrase at the 1988 Republican National Convention upon accepting the presidential nomination. What he asked his supporters to accept his word on was, "No new taxes," a promise he quickly reneged on, once having assumed office.

Giving lip (c.1803) or being lippy makes you insolent or disrespectful, paying lip service, "insincere." Jesus reproved the Pharisees (Matthew 15:8) — "The people... honoreth me with their lips but their heart is far from me." Can there be a more disrespectful or untrustworthy part of the body than the lips?

It would be Jesus, himself, who would later directly experience their perfidy when Judas identified him to the authorities by kissing him on the cheek (Matthew 26: 47-49), forever enshrining the Judas kiss as a symbol of duplicity and the kiss of death as a prelude to doom.

The band KISS, however, rose to prominence in the mid to late 1970s, going on to become one of the best selling bands of all time by letting it all hang out. Lippy, yes, totally disrespectful of convention, they never hid what they were. Decked out in flamboyant stage outfits, their faces painted in black and white face paint, their on-stage extravaganzas featured fire-breathing, blood spitting, smoking guitars, shooting rockets, levitating drum kits and other assorted pyrotechnics. Though the band broke up in 1982, it made numerous comebacks in the '90s. Its mainstays were Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley; other members rotated through only to be told at various times to KISS off.

Do you too have a disagreement that seems irresolvable? Just bring it to a quick halt by asking the other party to the dispute to kiss off! (c.1904), thereby summarily rejecting them and anything they might say. You say you meant nothing personal by it. Perhaps then, it's time to kiss and make up.

The moral of this disquisition couldn't be clearer. Never trust a kiss-up (c.1967) or a suck up, those seeking to ingratiate themselves. Ditto for those who kiss and tell (17th C.), betrayers of trust who reveal intimate information. The results can be devastating. Remember the warning from WWII: "Loose lips sink ships."

This same military also counseled us to K.I.S.S., "Keep it Simple Stupid," (c.1971) when making a request. When things get out of hand, just kiss the subject goodbye.

So beware the kiss! Reading too much into one, however, can also be dangerous. Most times a kiss is just a kiss. In which case, the fundamental things apply.