As a novice writer, I like to think about expressions, quotes, phrases and words. I will often hear something said, or read a quote, and find myself thinking about it all day long.

However, a curse that I’ve had for some time is that I find humor in just about everything, and since the whole world has apparently gone completely insane, I find lots of examples. The reason it is a curse, though, is that when I navigate through the wordage and find the humor, it won’t be appropriate to react to it. Businessmen for example. Businessmen (or women) like to sit around in suits at meetings all day and say idioms that encourage their coworkers to do better at business.

“So you see, if we shift our focus more on these money markets, we won’t compromise our strategy and ‘throw the baby out with the bath water’.”

Now, if I’m at that meeting (in my shorts and fishing shirt), I would be watching everyone nod in affirmation while I would be sitting with a puzzled expression and one eyebrow raised in bewilderment. The image of an actual baby being thrown out in the yard in a big splash of bathwater is just not a good thing to think by any decent human being’s standards.

Am I wrong about that? I mean, what kind of deranged madman made that expression up in the first place? I get it that this is just an idiom, but for crying out loud, who thinks like that? By the way, Merriam Webster defines an idiom as “An expression that cannot be understood from the meanings of its separate words but that has a separate meaning of its own.” However, that doesn’t stop me from being baffled by how we get these zany proverbs.

Puns are easier, because they are just a play on words, but they still get me in trouble. Let’s say I’m out at the ranch doing some work with my uncle, and we see a large group of javelina feeding about a hundred yards away. Now in my mind, the proper thing to do in such a situation is to let the gang know we are there so we don’t startle them, and I express this opinion to my uncle, who says, “Don’t trouble trouble till trouble troubles you.”

He chuckles in traditional fashion and wanders off while I try to do the math on that response, and by the time I get the pun figured, the javelina have charged me and send me sprinting for a tree while Uncle Tom sits in the truck laughing in a roar. This actually happened, by the way, and the story got told at family events for three decades.

Anyway, here’s a few more that get my goat. I know, I don’t have a goat, but it’s an idiom so just go with me;

“As right as rain.” How could rain be right - or wrong for that matter?

“Stop waffling.” I don’t even like waffles, and even if I did, I forgot the syrup.

“Jump on the bandwagon.” It depends - if the band is playing country, I might jump on it, but if it’s rap music, I’m jumping off the darn wagon.

“You’re pulling my leg.” Never seen that. I’ve seen folks pull other people’s finger, but that is different alltogether.

“You missed the boat.” Happens every time I try to jump from the dock to my fishing boat.

“Don’t steal my thunder.” What?

There, you see? What is going on with language these days? Can’t we just get back to saying what we mean and meaning what we say? Anyway, it’s time to cut the mustard, quit beating around the bush and get my ducks in a row with this article. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.


For comments or questions, contact John Kerr at john@ctcinspect. com.

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