I’ve found myself thinking today. Possibly thinking too deeply. Thinking about those random catchphrases we tend to use in everyday conversation that we know instantly what we are referring to, but the phrase itself is so far from what we are describing they actually make little or no sense at all.
For example, “He swims like a fish” we take to mean ‘he swims really good’. OK, this does make a little sense until you realise that it is completely wrong. He swims like a man swimming really well is what we should be saying, but that sounds worse. And there is no way he could swim like a fish as he isn’t a fish! I don’t swim like a fish but I swim. Maybe the phrase swimming like a fish should be used to those with graceful aquatic athletic abilities, and for people who swim like me the phrase should be “He swims like something floating in the water” But then, maybe not…
Another example is “Cool as a cucumber”. I’ve used this phrase before in one of my posts, but what does it actually mean? Cucumbers are cool straight from the fridge, but they aren’t as cool after they have been left out for a while. No, I’m only joking. Of course I know that the ‘cool’ in this case refers to ‘chill man’ rather than ‘brrr’, but still? How many cucumbers have you seen that have relaxed you? And why not use carrot or courgette? Because they don’t sound right, that’s why. So why does cucumber?
A third example is “Many a little makes a mickle”. Alright, you’ve caught me out. I’ve only just heard this one, but I like it! It means many small amounts accumulate to make a large amount, with a mickle being an old English word meaning ‘much’. To think of it in a slightly different way, everything builds up the bigger picture; whatever we have builds to the abundance we have in our lives. Is it better to have a little of a lot of things or a lot of one thing? I’d go for variety every time!
That’s the problem with thinking too deeply about things. It is very easy to fit things together, but not always easy to get things right. Which is probably why we very often make mountains out of molehills rather than just going with the flow. And going with the flow is so much easier… have you ever tried to make a mountain out of a molehill?
Catchphrases… enough already!