Let’s overanalyze some common phrases, shall we? And by “we” I definitely mean just me.
“Life is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you’re gonna get.”
Let me state right off the top, I’ve never seen Forrest Gump. But it’s my understanding that this quote comes from the movie. If I’m wrong, yell at me in the comments section.
You wanna know why life is not like a box of chocolates? It’s quite simple. A box of chocolates – I would hope – has a label, or some sort of section on it’s packaging that tells you exactly what you’re going to get.
Don’t they have to do that? They have to tell you what you’re about to eat, just in case you’re allergic? And in the case that the names of the chocolates, or pictures, aren’t on the outside of the box, there must be a cue card on the inside telling you what you’re about to consume.
There is no surprise with a box of chocolates, is what I’m getting at.
Now, if you want to say that life is like cracking an egg and getting some of the shell stuck in the yolk, then you can say that. Because you messed up. You got the shell stuck in the yolk. You have to fix it. And you have to remember not to do it again the next time. What’s this? Did you just learn from your mistake? You did.
So there, life is like cracking an egg and getting some of the shell stuck in the yolk.
“A relationship is a two way street.”
Doesn’t this mean you’re both going in opposite directions? I don’t know. Maybe this is accurate after all.
If you were on a one way street, wouldn’t that make a bit more sense? You navigate the terrain together and go over any speed bumps you may encounter.
Ha, road puns.
Both of you are heading down the street in the same direction working through problems, such as a skunk smell entering your car. What do you do? Do you open the window for fresh air? One person will try to do that, but the other person will tell them that will only make it worse, at least while you’re still in the vicinity of Pepe Le Pew.
See, you can’t have that type of conversation if you’re travelling in opposite directions on a two way street.
One way, all the way.
“I could care less about ____.”
This one annoys me to no end. Mainly because people say it, and it’s wrong. Could care less, is wrong.
For example, if someone says mean things about you and you don’t care what they think, you might say, “I could care less how ___ feels about me.”
This is wrong. What you meant to say was, “I couldn’t care less how ___ feels about me.”
When you say you “couldn’t care less” it means that you couldn’t possibly care any less than you currently do, and the level at which you currently care is already zero.
When you say you “could care less” it means that you do still care a bit. On the caring scale of 0-10, you’re still above a zero. That completely goes against your intent of saying you don’t care at all.
Therefore, your problem is in the fact that you’re missing the “n’t” on the end of “could.” Throw that contraction in there and your expressions of not caring will actually make sense.
“Burning the midnight oil.”
It might be time to retire this phrase, don’t you think? It alludes to working by the light of an oil lamp or candle. Raise your hand if you still work by an oil lamp? Alright, that’s more than I thought, but not enough for this to be a common phrase.
Can we change it to, “Watching TV shows online until we finish the season”? Because that’s essentially what it means in the world today.
“A picture is worth a thousand words.”
I need to give my former college roommate the credit for thinking of this one.
We were talking about writing a 2000-word essay one time and how much work that would take. You know, a typical college student complaint.
So he says, “They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so just draw two pictures and you have two thousand words.”
I thought it was genius. Just draw two pictures and hand it in as your essay. Yes, you’ll probably receive a zero, but the thought behind it is phenomenal.
There you go current students, just draw pictures instead of writing long, tedious essays!
Please know I’m kidding about that last line.
I like idioms as much as anyone. I like similes. I like metaphors. I like analogies. If you’ve read my blog for 43 seconds, you will know that to be true.
I just think it’s funny how we so often default to sentences that are so figurative, that the literal meaning of what we said has no meaning at all.
And for the love of potato chips, one last time, it’s “couldn’t care less.”
Thank you, and you’re welcome.