Thursday, August 16, 2012

Cliches and What I Think When I Hear Them

"It will be a cake walk"

A coworker told me this recently about a task he was trying to complete. I, being the smarty pants that I am, proceeded to laugh at his choice of phrases. He meant to say that the task would be easy. I mean, cake walks are easy. The few that I've done at church and school fairs are basically a glorified musical chairs where the winner gets a baked good (frequently a cake). The problem is, you don't always win.

"A good moral compass"

This is the phrase of the year, what with the election and all. But did you know that a compass does not point "true" north, to the one-and-only X on the ground that the world has decided is (0,0), aka the North Pole?  Nope. A compass points to the Magnetic North Pole which is a spot somewhere up in the arctic circle where the earth's magnetic field points down. Magnetic North is not True North. And what's even better, Magnetic North moves over time (the difference between True North and Magnetic North is called Magnetic Variance, and it changes significantly from year to year).  Maybe politicians aren't exaggerating when they use the word "moral compass". Because some of them have morals that drift.

"Press the flesh"

While I'm on politics and politicians...I am thankful this silly phrase is not as widely used at the moment. Very. Thankful. Because it always sounds vaguely dirty, and frankly, I don't want most politicians anywhere near my flesh.

"Put on your big girl panties"

It wasn't until I started potty training my daughter that I figured out that this phrase was NOT related to jokes about "granny panties". Seriously. And even then, it made me wonder. See, my daughter was one of those children who, when so inclined, would just wet her way through whatever she was wearing--big girl panties, plastic pants, diaper, whatever. I still think that people use this phrase wrong. Women talk about putting on their own big girl panties in order to face some challenge the way a knight would put on armor to protect themselves in battle, or perhaps take the armor off in order to trust in their own innate abilities. The problem is, the metaphorical wearer of the metaphorical big girl panties is not the one in this scenario who requires faith and trust...its the owner of the upholstery on which she sits.

"Pound the table"

People think this means to strongly support an idea. I dunno. I always get the image of a toddler throwing a tantrum. Or some kind of medieval guy with turkey leg grease dripping down his huge bushy beard, who has just slammed down his goblet of glug in anger and is now motioning for his beefcake of a bodyguard to literally shoot the messenger  (or else press his flesh into a squishy mess?)

"Put it to bed"

As in, lets finish up this task or settle this conflict for good. But when you put a kid to bed, you expect them to wake up the next morning, revived. Right???

"As you sow, so shall you reap"

Except during a drought.  In that case, you better irrigate.

"Walking on eggshells"

My beef (hah! cow vs chicken joke) with this one is that people are always "walking on eggshells around " somebody. I don't get it. Wouldn't it hurt my feet if I walk on eggshells? If that somebody is uber-sensitive, and I'm either making crunching noises or else hopping from bare foot to bare foot and crying out in pain, wouldn't that make the situation worse?

"Two wrongs don't make a right"

But three lefts do... (or just make a legal U-turn, as my GPS is always demanding)

"A piece of cake"

This is kind of like that first one, only it makes me hungrier. Cakes aren't easy. Even cake mixes frequently go awry. And then there are the fillings. And the frosting. And the decorating. And have you ever had the pleasure of cutting a large wedding cake? There are diagrams, people. Is cake easy to digest? if you don't have gall bladder problems. And I suppose it doesn't take much chewing. But its hard to stop at just one piece. And now I'm craving chocolate, darnit.

1 comment:

Caryn Caldwell said...

Ha ha! Love your interpretation of these cliches. I am so with you on a lot of them - especially "press the flesh" which I always thought sounded risque and kind of gross. Ugh!