Turn of phrase
On the 16th of March last year, Ian was out having a smoke with a colleague when he uttered the words 'the lucky ones are dead'. He could not remember how he came up with the phrase. But he loved the way it was twisted around. What a clever little expression, he thought to himself. And spent the rest of his cigarette break chuckling. He decided that he would use the expression at the first appropriate occasion. Which presented itself in the next few minutes when, over the course of discussing a mortgage application, a client remarked about rising prices. Ian pounced at the chance. It is getting tough for the living, he said. Indeed, he paused dramatically, the lucky ones are dead. The client was struck by his choice of words but managed a smile and enquired about her APR.
Bolstered by her positive reaction, from that time onwards Ian never missed an opportunity to use the expression. Often people looked puzzled or if they were Ian's friends, they shook their heads bemusedly. Soon, he grew indiscriminate in the use of the phrase. At supermarkets, in cinemas, in casual conversation with strangers in public saunas, Ian would be heard mentioning the fortunately deceased. He wished that it would soon become a catchphrase. In the same league as 'See you later, alligator' or 'Shit happens'.
A few months later, Ian was having dinner with a colleague he fancied. Over dessert, his colleague brought up the topic of genocide in a certain African country - a most inappropriate dinner table topic, if you ask me. And Ian was quick to announce his opinion of it. The lucky ones are dead, he said with a nonchalant shrug. It was such a grand utterance that his companion almost choked on her maple and pecan ice-cream. Sorry? she enquired. Ian, never to shy away from an encore, repeated his pronouncement. The lucky ones are dead. The lady friend who was of particularly sensitive disposition pushed her ice cream away and looked down at her shoes. Ian was lost in such a self-congratulatory mood that he did not notice that his date had gone silent for the rest of the dinner. After a while, she excused herself to use the ladies and never returned.
The following day, when Ian saw her at work, she turned her face the other way. And wouldn't return his calls. What a tosser!, she was heard telling someone, he says these things about dead people being lucky and thinks it's funny. Ian had trouble believing his ears. Surely she must've meant someone else. Not him.