Friday, 28 June 2013

Why are sayings so weird?

Why are sayings so weird?
27 June 2013

The origin of some sayings are really rather odd.  And I must confess to feeling rather perplexed at times.

We are so used to saying these phrases and they have become so automatic to us and entrenched in our everyday language, that it is hard to join the dots as to their true origin.

But perhaps even more perplexing than the well-known and commonly used ones, are the ones that are indigenous to different families.  Right, you know exactly what I mean.  Unleashing these sayings on anyone outside the family circle only succeeds in causing confusion and expressions of what-did-I-just-miss?

So for now, let's forget about those.  They're hard enough to define.  But what about the more commonly used ones?  The ones all of us use all the time?  Have you ever noticed how bizarre some of them sound?  Imagine being unfamiliar with English, and trying to learn the language.  Idiosyncrasies like these must be rather difficult to fathom.

I mean, just imagine if we took these saying at face value.  What a scary world we would live in.  Full of uncertainties and confusion.  Weird and wonderful things happening all around us.
People would be as sick as dogs - which immediately makes me think of mange for some or other reason.  A most dreadful illness for any human being to have.  I mean, geez - imagine trying to scratch behind your ear with your left leg???
Raining cats and dogs would surely be a scary sight to witness too.  How come domestic animals seem to always get the shortest end of the stick?

Speaking of which - how can one end be short.  And another be long?  A stick is a stick, is a stick.  One length.  Huh?

Then there's breaking the ice and we all know how spectacularly unsuccessful an event that was for the Titanic.

And as for waking up on the wrong side of the bed, perhaps more appropriate would be the wrong bed altogether?  As in having a few toots too many and showing bad discretion and a lapse in judgement with regards to a choosing a partner for the night perhaps?

Sleeping like a baby is another one that baffles me.  Anyone with any experience of babies will appreciate what a huge big misnomer this is.  Babies are not known for their sleeping "prowess" or patterns.  Rather their lack their of.  In fact, they are champions in the field of broken sleep.  And are so chuffed with this distinction, that they proudly show their skills off to their parents - a few times a night.

With regards to spilling the beans, can we perhaps get a bit of clarification.  Are we talking coffee beans, green beans, kidney beans, haricot beans?  Or the old humble and faithful baked beans in tomato sauce?

And I hate pointing out the obvious, but in the world I live in, inanimate objects don't speak.  Nor do they sing, dance or talk.  So exactly how is it possible for the pot to call the kettle black?  And does this strike anybody else as being ever so slightly racist?

Throwing in the towel is another odd saying.  In my humble experience, people through balls.  Occasionally frisbees.  Aussies throw boomerangs.  And on rather rare occasions, wives have been known to through objects at their husbands.  But towels?  Super ineffective, I should think.

I would also think that it is super obvious that tomorrow is another day.  What with each day having a different date, I would think that it would be a logical conclusion, that tomorrow would be another day.

And I don't mean to be picky, but pods generally are blessed with more than just two peas.  So what's with the whole two peas in a pod thing too?

Blood being thicker than water - is this a weird biological chemical viscosity thing?  And who ever thought of such a phrase.  A doctor perhaps or a medical practitioner, given to weird phrases and a penchant for stating the obvious?

Calling a spade a spade makes kind of sense.  Especially as a spade is technically called a spade.  What else would one call it after all?  A hairbrush, without the bristles?  A really long, thick, flat shaped toothpick?  Come on people - let's keep it real!

As for a chip on the shoulder - are they talking French Fries, crisps, slap chips or wood chips, as in garden mulch.  And surely there are better places to keep your slightly greasy food?  Perhaps a packet, or a bag - just a suggestion.  Use it - don't use it.

Putting the cart before the horse - now that makes no sense whatsoever.  Because if you put the cart befo..... Aaahhh!  I get it!  Good one!

Climbing on the bandwagon.  Now is that the equivalent of a tour bus when a band goes on a roadtrip?  And would a Kombi classify as a wagon?  Or even a mini-van of sorts?

Now I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed (he-he-he) when it comes to genetics, but surely it is biologically impossible for a leopard to change it's spots.  And why would it even want to?  Surely acceptance of your ethnicity and cultural, species background is far more important than changing?
So can you understand how potentially difficult it is to comprehend the English language?
I don't care what anyone says, it's quite simply not as easy as falling off a log...


  1. Helene, I dare say (yeah... you heard me right I DARE!! U-huh...this is me living on the edge!) that other people have wondered the same. Very good! Brilliant blog as always!!

  2. Helene, I dare say (yeah... you heard me right I DARE!! U-huh...this is me living on the edge!) that other people have wondered the same. Very good! Brilliant blog as always!!