Recently when I was having a stressful day somebody suggested a very ridiculous solution to me, and instead of saying no thank you, I almost said this:
I need that like I need a hole in my head.
Luckily I caught myself, because the person I was talking to would have had no idea what I was trying to say.
What was I trying to say? I’m not really sure. But I blame my childhood.
The reason I even know that statement is because it was said to me frequently as a child when I proposed less than good ideas. And that was a frequent occurrence. But even when I was at my dumbest, it still seems like it might have been bit too severe of a comparison no?
I mean I suppose that’s the point but to a child, that seems like a ridiculous thing to say. I can just see myself wondering why my mother would need a hole in her head, or who would ever want a hole in their head, or how anybody would actually go about getting a hole in their head. It seemed like the least wanted thing in the universe.
I started thinking about other takes on this sentence that I could start building into my daily repertoire. Here is what I came up with.
I need that like I need:
a snake in my ear.
a harpoon in my foot.
a grenade in my throat.
But honestly thought I could do better and up the ante.
I need that like I need:
a dragon full of dynamite.
a balloon full of asbestos.
a panda in a dress.
Actually I might take the panda. But I figure as long as you’re going to confuse somebody you might as well really go for it. And speaking of confusing, I had a high school teacher say the following thing to me once:
Charles Dickens must be rolling in his grave.
Why? I understand that you are trying to tell me Charles Dickens would be upset, but why is he rolling in his grave?
Rolling in your grave presupposes 2 things.
The first is that anybody expresses anger by rolling back and forth. Not stomping, or screaming, or kicking. Rolling. What about this activity says anger? If I saw somebody rolling back and forth in one place I might think ‘drug use’ or perhaps ‘they were just on fire.’
But anger? I think not. Can you imagine the conversation that would lead to that? I mean in a normal circumstance if somebody were pissed off it would be like:
Bill: Are you OK man?
Steve: No! I’m so pissed I’m going to go home and punch a hole through my wall.
Ok wow yea that seems to make sense. But let’s say:
Bill: Are you OK man?
Steve: No! I’m pissed. I’m going to lay down on the ground right here, pull my arms to my chest and roll from side to side until this anger that exists deep within my heart has subsided. I will roll my anger away!
Bill: Oh… I don’t think we can be friends any more.
Actually you know who rolls around on the ground when they are angry? Children. Toddlers. Babies. Me… 25 years ago.
OK maybe 15 years ago.
The second thing that ‘rolling in your grave’ presupposes is the idea that pissing off a dead person would reanimate them only enough in that they would be able to roll around in their coffin, when everybody knows that if somebody came back from the dead they would fly into your bedroom at night and haunt the shit out of you. Not just roll around in a box underground.
I suppose it’s good we can’t know when we have pissed off dead people, or when they are unhappy. I on the other hand, always knew when I seemed unhappy because I would be told to:
Get that puss off your face.
Now, even though I had never heard the word puss before, as soon as my mother said that, I KNEW what a puss was. And I had one on my face. And I had better get it off or else.
Can I describe to you now what it looks like? Nope, I just happen to know it when I see it.
And I suppose it makes sense for a parent to say something to their child using the least amount of words necessary. It seems like being a parent consists of a lot of telling your kids what not to do. I can’t imagine I would have been as good at following instructions if my parents had said something like:
The current physical expression you are making on your face is neither conducive to improving the situation nor is it appealing to view. Please alter it immediately and bring about a more pleasant and kindly demeanor.
Of course not. Get that puss of your face works a whole lot better. The word puss could have been interchanged for snush, glerf, bloaf. It all works. Which just goes it’s not what you say after all, it’s how you say it.
So the next time you think you might have a puss on your face, you’d better get rid of it. Unless of course you’ve got a harpoon in your foot, in which case, I think you’re allowed to have a puss on your face.