I’m not sure I believe Wikipedia’s exposition of the origin of this phrase. I would have thought it’s older than filmdom. But if we’re going to cut to the chase, it doesn’t really matter why people say it. The important thing is to just get on with it. (In movies I actually prefer that people cut out the chase, as that’s always my least favorite part. Further proof that I am out of sync with most people, who apparently prefer nonstop action.)
Three years ago, when I was negotiating with the sellers of the house I now own, “cut to the chase” was a stock phrase in my broker’s sometimes inscrutable repertoire of realtorisms. Now I’m trying to decide whether to sell the house, and if so to whom and for how much and with what preconditions. In this predicament, cutting to the chase means getting to the part where I actually know what I want and set about achieving it. It basically comes down to five possibilities:
- Get some kind of menial job in Seattle so that I can afford to keep the house and all the loud, messy stuff that comes with it. This would mean actually living in the house pretty much full time.
- Get an even more menial job in the Bay Area so that I can afford to keep the house, but just not visit there very often.
- (a) Notify the tenants that I intend to sell the house in 3 months, requiring them all to find new homes. (b) Sell the house. (c) Take the proceeds and move to someplace pleasant but cheap (relative to Seattle and the Bay Area), bringing the cats with me.
- Same as 3 (a) and (b), but (c) continue living in Oakland, having found another home for the cats.
- Continue trying to work a deal with someone who would pay me a low price for the house in exchange for agreeing to let us all continue renting here.
Of course, “get a job” is shorthand for “apply for 100 jobs, interview for 20, and get really, really lucky with one (probably because no one else wants it).” In other words: easier said than done. I do have an interview in a couple of weeks for a menial, low-wage job in Seattle that’s open only to geezers, but I still have to beat out several other geezers who probably have less sketchy employment histories than mine.
And getting a job is no guarantee that I will hold onto the house. Really, I’m tired of subsidizing people who spend their money on pot, booze, and Uber instead of rent. There are much better avenues for philanthropy. I think a clean break is really what’s called for. And if they have three months to put something together, surely they can all find good situations.
The trouble is that I kind of enjoy being the benevolent and sometimes annoying landlord. These cool, creative, accomplished people have to pretend to like me, because if I don’t feel welcome in their house, I might sell it. Yes, I am buying their make-believe friendship (pretendship?). That’s a little creepy, and perhaps it’s time for it to end.
There, I’ve done it! Or have I? Stay tuned for more endless rumination and pointless monologue with no chase in sight..