During recent conversations with some friends in South Fork, I casually inquired how deep the snow was and was informed it was “up to your yin yang.”
Not knowing exactly where that would be on my person or whether it is at different heights on various people, I had to consult the dictionary for clarification. It seems that Yin and Yang is a part of Chinese philosophy indicating how two completely opposite things are connected: light and dark, hot and cold, life and death and so on.
I have no idea how that is related to snow depth but it did get me to thinking about the localized euphemisms and sayings that are used across the country.
When I was working, we had a bunch of men come up from Texas to work alongside us. They were always trying to “carry us” somewhere and we were quick to tell them that we didn't go for that kinda thing up in Kansas. Of course what they meant to say was they would pick us up in their car and drive us to the destination.
In the south no one dies, they “pass.” So the lady at the grocery can say Mrs. So and So passed yesterday then a parade of cakes, casseroles, pies and condolences suddenly shows up at the home of the dearly departed.
This is not to be confused with the other “passing” of something that involves stinky old men sitting around a campfire. But it is a good example of a euphemism which is a gentler way of saying something a tad crass or harsh.
Sometimes there are sayings that are similes or metaphors of things that only make sense locally.
You have to be raised on a farm to know what it means when someone is “looking at me like a calf looking at a new gate” or it’s “raining like a cow peeing on a flat rock.”
You have to be church folk to understand how it can be as “windy as a preacher at revival.”
Other sayings, though, are self-explanatory and you may want to incorporate a few of these into your repertoire for future conversations. Such things as “tight as a drum,” “warm as toast,” “hungry as a bear,” “mad as a Mohican,” “odd as a $3 bill,” “crazy as a pet coon,” “hairy as an ape,” “poor as a church mouse,” “bald as a cue ball,” “eyes like two holes in a snow bank,” “two peas in a pod,” “clean as a whistle,” “Mutt and Jeff,” “Jack and Jill,” “blind as a bat,” “happy as a pig in a mud hole,” “clean as a whistle,” and “burned out.”
Feel free to use these as you see fit to expand your conversational capabilities. No one may know what you are talking about but they will think you witty and we all need some of that on our side.
Remember, they don't have to make sense to be thought clever as most people are too shy to ask and thereby let on that they are not “in the know.” They will simply giggle or smile and remain silent thinking everyone else in the room somehow knows what was meant by their word-wise friend --- you!
“Hell” is one word, though that seems to be used all the time but doesn’t make a lot of logical sense. I can understand it being “hot as hell” or maybe “dark as hell” but not “mad as hell,” “hell warmed over,” “hell of a guy,” “hellacious,” “hell no” or “hell yes” and certainly there is no room for “cold as hell.” Now that just doesn't make any sense even to a full blown atheist. I guess it’s a way to unofficially swear without going overboard yet still shock the gentle sensibilities of the people still given to kind and proper talk.
Trixie has accused me of “talking her ear off and whispering in the hole” as I have the Kirkpatrick gift of gab. And we all know how General George Patton vowed to go through the German lines like “crap through a goose.” Now there is a mental picture for you, for sure. But again, if you ever have been around geese, you totally understand.
So if you find yourself “bored to death,” have “cabin fever,” or need to “get the stink blown off,” find an outdoor activity to engage in this coming week. You might even come up with your own new euphemism or saying that will be suddenly become the national rage, a new app on the iPhone or at least be derided as “nutty as a fruitcake” amongst friends thereby securing your 15 minutes of fame in your lifetime.
Once that's out of the way, you can move on to bigger and better things on your “bucket list” and be “happy as a Lark.”