Back in the day, as they say, it was not uncommon in some homes to keep what was known as a “swear jar.” Family members who cussed aloud were required to drop money in the receptacle, and the cash so raised provided a kitty to be shared by all for some worthy pursuit: dinners out, say, or gas for a vacation trip.
With the anything-goes popularization of profanity and the proliferation of N-words, F-words, B-words, C-words, and any other letter-and-hyphen combos we can dream up, it might be hard in today’s households to get agreement on just what constitutes swearing.
I have an idea for solving the federal deficit and getting rid of some of our most tiresome fad phrases, both at the same time. Here’s how: Require anyone using certain inane catchphrases — especially TV personalities — to pay a $5 fine for each public use, with all profits used to pay off our mounting national debt.
Who decides which phrases get blacklisted? I do. It’s my idea. Here are my Top 10 offenders. Are you paying attention, ABC, NBC. CBS, PBS, CNN, MSNBC, Fox?
1. BACK IN THE DAY. Yes, I know, those are the first four words in this column. I just wanted to get you warmed up for what’s to come, sort of like those teasers they do on television all the time, so you’ll stay on till after the commercial. Back in what day, smart guy? Eleven o’clock this morning was back in the day
2. REACHING OUT. Please, don’t reach out to me. Write me a letter if you want. Call me by phone if you must. Come over here and ring my doorbell even. Just don’t reach out to me. Save it for Sweet Caroline.
3. IT IS WHAT IT IS. Of course it is. That’s not a problem. It’s when it is not what it is, or even what it isn’t that I get upset.
4. GOING FORWARD. Going is forward for almost anything you want to name, except maybe a swimmer doing the backstroke. Or Donald Trump running for president.
5. AT THE END OF THE DAY. You could say that every day of the week, month or year, and they do. But if they put it in terms of the century, maybe we’d only hear it once, and that would be often enough.
6. DOUBLE DOWN. Somebody says something and gets criticized for it. He thinks he’s right so he doesn’t apologize, but says it again, and why not? He believes it. This is called doubling down. It makes me double up -- with laughter.
7. TURNED UP MISSING. Well, which is it? If they turned up, they’re no longer missing, and if they’re missing, it’s pretty sure they still haven’t turned up, in’t it?
8. NO PROBLEM. How is this better than a simple “you’re welcome?” Thank you, God — for this day, for our family, our friends, this wonderful world, “No problem.”
9. YADDA YADDA. I know “et cetera” is Latin, and we pretty much always abbreviate it, but Yadda Yadda is just so much Yadda Yadda.
10. MY BAD. Nobody enjoys admitting a mistake. I forgive them for that, but all they do is compound it with this atrocity. That’s probably what they mean by doubling down.
Sorry, my bad.

Reach Sid McKeen at mckeensidney@gmail.com.