Every so often, perhaps once in a coon’s age, I’ll hear an idiom and
wonder where it came from. Let’s look at the age of a coon for example. My first question when hearing the phrase, “I haven’t seen you in a coon’s age” is, “How long do coon’s live?”
I answered this question by looking it up on the internet and found that raccoons live from 5-7 years in the wild and 14-17 years in captivity. If you tell someone who you haven’t seen in 25 years that it has been a coon’s age you would technically be wrong. You should say “It’s been a coon’s age plus a dog’s age since I saw you.”
I have often wondered about the accuracy of the phrase, “You can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar.” Was a scientific test conducted to prove the preferred lure for flies? And if it was, how in the world did dog poop not make the list? Truth be told, you can catch way more flies with dog poop than you can with honey, vinegar, and potato salad combined.
What about the phrase, “I say this tongue in cheek.” It’s means that you should not take that person seriously. Have you ever tried to talk with your tongue in your cheek? Go ahead, try it now. You sound funny don’t you? Hardly intelligible. When you say things tongue in cheek, nobody is going to take you seriously anyhow because you will sound ridiculous. This phrase is unnecessary and needs to be done away with. I thay this tonginshee.
I hate it when someone says “I’m head over heels in love.” I have nothing against love, and agree that it is something very special. That’s why it bugs me when I hear “head over heels in love.” That’s not special. Your head is always over your heels. It’s supposed to be that way. Look in a mirror, you are head over heels right now.
If you walk around on your hands all the time, the term “head over heels” is applicable to you. For the rest of you, please start saying that you are “heels over head in love” which now that I wrote it, conjures up a delightful image.
Finally, I have to object to the phrase, “Drunk as a skunk.” It is a direct slam at our pungent friends because they are well known tea totalers. Skunks do not get drunk. Skunks get funky, but do people say, “You got the funk of a skunk?” No, they say “drunk as a skunk.”
It is time for sober skunks across the land to rise up on their hind legs and proclaim “We stink, don’t drink, get used to it.”
I have only scratched the surface of annoying idioms and I know there are plenty more out there. Goodness knows they are not rarer than hen’s teeth. If you have any phrases or idioms of which you wonder about their origin, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll make something up for you.