Monday, May 19, 2008

Cold Hands, Warm What?

Today, I got to thinking about expressions. There are many occasions where an obscure one will pop into my head and I’ll absently wonder where in Heaven’s name it came from…but I’m not quite curious enough to google it. I’ve decided that many probably arose from someone trying to spare someone else’s feelings. There was probably a woman (for some reason, I just know it was a “she”) who had icy cold hands and was freaking out her male-suitor-friend…(probably not her husband, as I’ve discovered that most eventually stop working so hard to spare a woman’s feelings) who then decided to tell her that he’d heard that cold hands meant you had a warm heart. She’d give him a thin smile in response and in using all her super powers, somehow manage not to roll her eyes and sigh deeply. Meanwhile, her hands are still freezing and now he looks like a schmuck.

On the other end of the spectrum, you have expressions like “killing two birds with one stone” and “don’t beat a dead horse”, which are just downright barbaric…not to mention kinda gross. When would it ever have been appropriate to say these things without sounding like some kind of monster? I simply cannot fathom it. No matter what the circumstances…no matter how dire…I cannot think of an instance where my first response would be “Well…I’ll be a monkey’s uncle”. I’m convinced this is some inside-geneticist-joke and by some bizarre fluke of nature the expression somehow caught on with the general public. Someone decided it was the “cool-nerdy” thing to say…and there you have it.

I suppose every generation has their expressions. My grandparents were probably from the era of “Heavens to Betsy!” and “That’s one way to skin a cat!” My parents were more from “The Age of Aquarious” and my mother’s personal favorite: “Well, it just didn’t get up and walk away.” (The latter used for everything from the missing car keys to one of our pet turtles, which of course did truly walk away.)

So, now we’ve surpassed “The future’s so bright, I’ve gotta wear shades” and the still-ever-present “whatever.” Gone are the days of “groovy….or rad….or dude.” Although, I still use “dude” occasionally, just for fun.

Who knows what the next generation will remember…but I’m guessing it’ll make more sense than “betwixed and between”. Taylor (age 16) doesn’t know what “a Lucille Ball moment” is. Scary.

The other day, I tried to give Connor (age 11) a kiss…he yelled “Aaaarrrgh!!! STOP, DROP AND ROLL!"

Ah, well…there’s a new one.

See Kay said...

Ha! Today at work someone used the phrase 'cut off her nose to spite her face" and the other guy at work, who is Puerto-Rican-American, never heard of the phrase and it was so funny to watch his face trying to figure out WTF she was talking about. We had to explain it to him, which was not easy, and I'm pretty sure he just thinks we are crazy rather than understanding the concept.

Anonymous said...

My sister-in-law is from Italy and she is always catching me saying something. Its amazing how often and how many expressions we use! Same goes for slang I guess.
Just found this site. Great article!!! Enjoyed it!

Anonymous said...

This post was very funny. It reminded me of so many sayings too. My son couldn't get over me calling him a "ham" one time. He'd never heard of that before.

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