The English language is flooded with axioms, proverbs, and metaphors. These English expressions have the special gift of causing confusion – What these expressions read is never what these expressions mean.
And just when you start thinking that you have got a hang of the language, someone would put up an expression in front of you which would leave you blank. You would be at your wits end to try and deduce the meaning of the phrase in the current context; but of course you cannot. Next you would push all the triggers of your old faithful brain , just in case it might have heard the expression somewhere. But , as our brain usually does in tricky situations , it responds with a safe blank.
And all this time , the person who used the expression would observe your internal struggle and apologize – I’m sorry .I did not know you were unaware of this phrase”. But you can see the chuckle in his voice and you can’t miss the look of amusement in his eyes. And the next thing you know is that every next sentence coming from this persons’ mouth is loaded with a weird English expression. And standing there , you start feeling that if you could get a chance to live your life all over again, the only thing you would do is to learn all the English phrases that exist so that you do not get into such a situation again.
Next chance in life is a matter of uncertainty , but at this moment, in this ordinary avatar of my life, I would like to grab this opportunity to express my complaints against some of these English expressions and against the people(phrase-throwers) who use these expressions all the time throwing caution to the winds. (I know I could have done without the phrase, but never mind).I have even named these complaints as English phrases – serves these phrases and the phrase – throwers right!
1 . My first complaint is called – Early to bed and early to rise, keeps a man healthy, wealthy and wise.
This expression is very close to the heart of those phrase – throwers who apart from shooting phrases have another nagging habit – Morning Walk. These early risers are under the impression that just because they get up at 4 AM , mother nature has nothing better to do than unravel all its secret to them. Anything which they see or observer is Mother Nature’s message to them and it is their utter responsibility to capture that event in a quizzical English phrase. For instance, they would see a bird chewing a worm in the morning and conclude – The early bird gets the worm .
I want to question my early riser Friend – “My dear , early riser , Have you ever taken an afternoon walk – I have taken –you see, I get up late and I am not ashamed of it and I can swear to Dear Lord that at even 12 in the noon; when the sun is at the highest point above our head , I have seen birds catching and eating worms with considerable ease.”
Another favourite of these early risers – ‘it’s a small world out there’.
Of course my friend, the world would seem small to you when you keep meeting the same 3 people every day at 4AM .After all, not many are as crazy as you to get up at 4AM for a casual stroll. And of course, when all you do is walk the same 400 meters everyday with no one around – your world is bound to be a small one . By the way, just for the records, the world seems fairly large to me when I am stuck in traffic daily for 4 hours while commuting between office and home.
2.My second complaint is called – A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
This complaint is against those phrase- throwers who are under the false impression that they know all. They pass phrases that provide incorrect advice. And the ’Not so know it all ‘ people like me tend to believe them and get into trouble. Let me share a few phrases which these Shakespeare kins have blessed me with.
The worst phrase I have ever got is – “If you love someone set them free. If they come back to you, they are yours. Else they never were”. I heard this and said – “Very well – seems good “. So I did all the preparations and proposed to seven girls, one on each day of the week and came back. I said to me – “What’s the harm? As per the phrase, if none of them love me, then the worse that can happen is that none of them will come back.” Well , not only did all of them come back , all of them came back at the same time with their boyfriends and while I was lying in the hospital bed with all the Get Well Soon flowers around me, life certainly did not feel like a bed of roses.
Another piece of gem from these saviours of Queens English – ‘It is a blessing in disguise ‘ . I don’t want to get into the details but I can assure you from my experience – that it not important to be in disguise when you are blessing someone; but on the contrary, disguise is important when you are cursing someone. And the bigger the person you’re planning to curse – the better your disguise needs to be.
3.Last but not the least, My third complaint is called – We cannot spell success without “U”.
This complaint is dedicated to those phrase – throwers, who just for the sake of acting smart, play around with alphabets and numbers in their conversations.Again, let me give you a few enriching examples. But before we proceed, I want to inform the phrase throwers of one more interesting fact which they seem to have missed – “Without U , we cannot spell “Stupid “ also.”
An apple a day keeps a doctor away. This phrase itself brings tears to my eyes and fills me with anger. You see, as a child I hated my family doctor because his only ambition in life seemed to be to give me more and more vaccination injections. He wanted to protect me against the diseases which existed and against the diseases which may come into existence in the near or far future. Boy, did he believe in “Prevention is better than cure “.
Naturally .a s a child ,I hated doctors. So when I heard – An apple a day keeps a doctor away; I was overjoyed. And as a child I used to be quite intelligent also (I still am). So I quickly calculated – “Eating an apple every 8 hours will keep 3 doctors away”.
Today, I suffer from Haemochromatosis – excessive iron content in the blood. And I have to visit the doctor every second day. All thank to the English phrases and the damned phrase-throwers.
In the end , I know I cannot expect the barrage of these phrase-throwers to scale down , but to all of you out there waiting to bombard your pearls of Queen’s English ,before you open your guns , I would like to remind you of one more old is gold phrase – ‘Silence is Golden’