This morning someone at work was asked how they were. You know how it goes, “Hi Jen, how are you?” Her reply was “Couldn’t be better.” I thought “Wow! This is the best she will ever be. It must be all downhill from here.” It was kinda sad to see someone plateau at such a young age.
It got me thinking about other phrases we use and what the heck they mean in a literal sense.
Clean as a whistle: Just how clean is something that spends its existence having copious amounts of spit being blown into it? The bottom of my shoe would be cleaner.
Fit as a fiddle: A long thin neck and a pear shaped body. Doesn’t sound particularly fit to me. I think they’re drawing a long bow on this one.
As cool as a cucumber: If the cucumber is in the fridge than that could be pretty cool but other wise it more room temperature which doesn’t seem cool at all. Also, I don’t recall The Fonz ever associating with those green vine fruit, so they can’t be very cool. They might only be as cool as that kid in school with the whiny voice and glasses that everyone tried to avoid.
Better than a poke in the eye with a blunt stick: Let’s be honest here, there isn’t a great deal worse than a poke in the eye with a blunt stick. I think we’re setting a pretty low bar with this one. I’d rather eat someone else’s fingernails than get poked in the eye with a blunt stick and I really don’t want to eat someone else’s fingernails.
Wouldn’t be dead for quids: It begs the question, “so how much would you need to die?” Ah, what price a human life. Well based on the elements in your body, about $160US (http://msbu.me/7), although if you sell your body of for it’s components (heart, lungs, marrow, etc) you could be worth up to $45 million. If that isn’t enough incentive, you could just be being greedy.
As happy as Larry: I want to know who this Larry is and see just how happy he is. The phrase never mentions that Larry is actually happy. What if he is a miserable git? I could have just come from a dear friend’s funeral to watch my favourite football team get beaten by their arch enemies then find out the power has gone out and I have no food in the fridge and then when I go to buy more food finding that my car has been stolen and still be happy as Larry. For goodness sake, someone find this man and cheer him up!
More or less (but not this amount): This is oddly specific, all values are acceptable but not this particular one. It also shows amazing indecision. It effectively states, “I have no idea how much I have, but I don’t have this much.”
Cleave: Not a saying as such, but who doesn’t love a word that means its opposite. It means to both stick together and to split apart. The bible says a man shall leave his mother and father and cleave to his wife. You really hope that anyone reading it takes it as the stick together cleave. the other definition could be very messy.
‘Til the cows come home: Where have these cows gone? What sort of cows are they? Are they homing cows? If they are dairy cows then they will be coming home dawn and dusk for milking, so not that much of a wait. Other cows may not even know they are supposed to come home so you could be waiting a long time.