I’ve just been struck by yet another oddity of the English Language.
In many ways I’ve spent a large portion of my adult life trying to figure out quick effective ways to use my native tongue. In fact, my only tongue. (Porque yo hablo espanol muy paquito y muy mal….. or something)
But there are times when English doesn’t provide enough ways to get a point across. There’s only so many times you can add “really, really, really” to something before it just confirms that you “really, really, really” have no idea what you’re talking about at all.
So I have a tendency to work in metaphor. Using something unrelated to explain the gravity of my current point.
“Saying Todd has a tendency to use metaphor is like saying Iran has a bit of a PR problem”
You see what I did there…
And these days, because of Everyday Driver, I’m prone to torture metaphors like a Chinese Hitman on Redbull.
And I guess that’s my point, I generally enjoy not having the right English word and resorting to a mental picture for reference. But sometimes I’d just like to have a way to hit the point in one individual word of perfect selection. Of course all of our vocabularies would have to be exponentially better to make that idea work at all.
Other times however, a metaphor side-swipes a point so powerfully that it sends the conversation in an entirely new direction. And that happened to me tonight.
My wife was sitting on the couch, very pregnant, very uncomfortable, and decided she’d spread the wealth. So, she got her headphones, put them across her stomach and began scrolling through her ipod. At one point she also got out a flashlight, so between the thumping music and the strobing flashlight our unborn son suddenly got treated to his own version of Studio 54.
And while he’s dancing (or trying to cover his little ears – let’s be honest there’s no way to tell) she says:
“This is just like the aurora borealis”
I have no idea what I was doing before she said that as I was stopped dumb by that proclamation.
“What’s that now?” I said.
“You know what I mean,” she says.
“Yes dear, of course… I see exactly why blasting Janet Jackson into your uterus is reminiscent of odd trails of light during sunset at the arctic circle.”
Now, she was referring to the rare strangeness of her stomach bouncing to the movement of an actual human inside her. And yes, it probably falls into the same likelyhood & common occurance percentage as the average person seeing the northern lights.
But for me it provided one of the best laughs I’ve had in months. And she laughed along with me. But Bodie stopped kicking and his nightclub dance party never returned to its former glory.
You see, you’ve got to be careful with the ole English language. Sometimes the metaphor is not our friend.