I recall writing an editorial for my college newspaper, years ago, about personal etiquette. A rant, if you will, no doubt written whilst recovering from a lengthy night out drinking. I referenced the phrase “gets my goat” as being a vague, unclear idiom.
Recently I used the expression “have a leg up,” while speaking with an incredibly hilarious friend who quipped that the expression seemed kind of slutty. As a result I took to the internets to find some of the finer idioms that are part of our advanced American vernacular.
Here, my friends, (and by friends, I mean the 4 bots that view my page as code), are the highlights of the idioms that struck me:
- “Hit the sack”
- Dirty. This one reads as double entendre. If you use this with me, I will most likely fail at stifling laughter.
- “A penny for your thoughts”
- If we are friends, my thoughts should be worth far more than a penny to you. Don’t say this out loud to people you care about.
- “Blessing in disguise”
- Don’t be a dick. Never use this while someone is going through bad shit, wait until you see the merit of the situation and it is far, far in that person’s past.
- “Caught between two stools”
- What is this one? Where did it come from? Are they bar stools? That’s a really bizarre visualization – someone spread eagle on two stools at a bar. “Seat’s taken….This one, too.”
- “Don’t quit your day job”
- Best used in a biting comedic sense. As in “don’t give up your day job to write in your blog.”
- “Take it with a grain of salt”
- Since when is salt a measure of how serious something is? And why?
- “Ball is in your court”
- Stoppit, don’t say “ball.” “Ball” beings me to “balls,” which brings my mind directly back to “Hit the sack.”
- “Cost an arm and a leg”
- I use this one. It’s violent, a little gory, and quite frankly, the perfect idiom to describe the financial fuckery that is my education. As in, my degrees cost an arm and a leg.
After a brief review, I have arrived at the conclusion that my problem with idioms is ME. The problem, quite simply, is that I’m either too literal, or have the critical reasoning skills and sense of humor of a 12 year-old-boy.