It Is What It Is (or is it?)

“To be or not to be…..that is the question.” (Shakespeare’s Hamlet) “It is what it is” …..that is the statement. (Everyone in America)

Once upon a time, I was forced to read or hear lines such as these which may live in infamy.

It is what it is.  This phrase is commonly used these days representing nothing, so I wish to present an evangelical blog or sermon regarding this phrase.  You may only leave your pews if your child is crying….most likely from abject boredom.

I guess the phrase, “it is what it is”, truly isn’t what “it” is.  But, what does “it” mean?  I think I know what it means, but let me check my dictionary filled with obscure phrases meaning nothing.

These four words are similar to phrases, such as “I care, but….”,  “I don’t care, but….”, “It’s no big deal”, or the lowest phrase known to man and dog, “At the end of the day, it is what it is.”  What the does this mean?  Can you explain what IT is so that previous statement holds any water placement relevance whatsoever?  This is my interpretation.

Man at the zoo:  An elephant just crushed my left foot, but, ya know, it is what it is.

Friend receiving this information: No, I need to know how you are going to replace that foot.  Are you going to be o.k.? Will it require pins? Is the zoo, the elephant, or you responsible for this action?  This isn’t just what it is.

Man getting cheated on by wife or vice versa:  My spouse is cheating on me, but, ya know, it is what it is.

Friend: O.k, but are you going to do anything about it?  Get a divorce? Seek counseling?  Jump off a bridge?  What?  You can’t just say something like that concluding with “it is what it is”.   Not if you’re my friend, you can’t.

Man eating his last supper:  The meat was a little overcooked, but, ya know, it is what it is.

Friend: No. This is your last supper, dude, (and I am referring to Jesus, not some slime on death row) so you are worthy of asking the chef why your ribeye: one, didn’t begin with any marbleization, and two, did the cook really need a smoke break during the eight minutes Jesus requested for the steak to be left on the grill?  Unfair.

Guy Gambling:  I just lost a grand at the table.

Friend:  What!?

Guy Gambling: Ahhh, it is what it is.

Friend: Again, I say no.  I need an explanation, especially since I gave you five hundred of those dollars.  Were you playing next to three morons at the BlackJack table, or did you just blow your wad playing Craps?

Guy losing his job:  I lost my job today, but it is what it is.

Friend:  ( forgive my redundancy, but this isn’t fair to the friend receiving this information)  Well, seeing that you have confided in me regarding a very serious matter, I only believe I should know not necessarily, how you lost your job, but how you will pick yourself up and find a new profession.

Police Officer:  Place your hands above your head and step away from the tricycle. (Do they still say that?  It’s been awhile since I’ve done some really good jail time.)

Accused:  Why?

Police Officer:  Well, you are being accused of…..uhmmm…..oh hell, it is what it is, now just do what I say, damn it!

Hypothetical: The Mariners, Seahawks, Huskies and Cougars just lost every game of their season, and the Mariners were even out of season. (this doesn’t sound hypothetical) Now, I’m only supposed to care about a tie game in soccer.  Sorry.  That really is what it is.  This is where the phrase becomes medicinal and saves marriages and remote controls.  Much like finding serenity rather than violence, this phrase is allowed requiring no explanation because there isn’t one.  Trust me, I have been seeking this antidote for thirty nine years, and I must tell myself, “it is what it is.”

I am only writing this because I hear this phrase over and over while speaking with people I love, respect and admire.  They may be friends, family, athletes, journalists or police officers. But, if you are going to disclose delicate information, regardless of who you may be, give it to me straight on the chin, because otherwise, it’s just a dangling participle which ninety nine percent of the population doesn’t quite understand either.  I would rather you just say you have a dangling dingleberry and be on your way.  That’s what my dogs tell me.  And, I get that!

I’ll disclose something.  I’ve not provided information in the past to people I love, respect and admire.  I haven’t always told it straight.  Yet, I’ve never said, “it is what it is”.  I’ve just ran away from the truth, exhausted fumes trailing me and my car, without saying a thing.  That’s an even easier way out.  However, it isn’t fair to those who care.  Much like saying, “it is what it is”.

Why don’t you just say, “I give up”.  Now, that makes a little more sense.  Or, you can kick yourself in the ass and try to find solutions to your ailments.  And, when that doesn’t work, don’t say “it is what it is”, just give up.

Let us Pray.

2 thoughts on “It Is What It Is (or is it?)

  1. I had Rickey flowing through my veins when I wrote this. Thank you for recognizing Ben and Rickey’s voice. At least, although difficult to discern at times, Rickey is the voice of reason.

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