Sunday, January 10, 2010

A Sore Thumb?

"Language is the source of misunderstandings."

Antoine de Saint-Exupery 

We live in a world of commonly used adages, aphorisms, maxims, and mottos. You know what they are. They are the language metaphors we use to describe human action. Man, I "slept like a baby" or "It's hotter than a pistol" and he came out of there "like a bat out of hell." Then, we have the "I'm sweating like a pig" simile. If I'm not mistaken, pigs don't sweat.

As a generality, we use this type of phraseology daily. It is a humorous thing to sit and analyze some of these statements. I mean, honestly, has anyone ever seen a bat flying out of hell? Have you? If so, do tell. All I know is that it must be pretty fast. Indeed, if I was trying to get out of hell I would make my exit as quick as humanly possible.

My favorite of these silly similes could be applied when you're looking at last year's group photo at the company picnic. It was the one held at Splish Splash water park. Everyone is wearing their new polo shirts with the company logo on them except for  Fenton Foster. He's the one on the left holding a hot dog in one hand and a 96 ounce "gut buster" in the other. Yes, you got it right. He is wearing zebra print swim trunks complimented by the electric orange arm floaties. He just got out of the pool. Someone missed the memo. I guess the water didn't get to the end of the row if you know what I mean--except for the puddle Fenton left where he was standing. Boy, did he stick out like a sore thumb!

There it is: a sore thumb. Do they really stick out? I just wonder who came up with that one! Perhaps it was coined the day Hank was trying to hammer nails holding the hammer with only four fingers not using his thumb at all. "What's wrong with Hank?" Walt asked Larry.

"I don't know, Walt." Larry replied"

"Well, why is his thumb sticking out, Larry? He looks like an invalid!"

" Maybe his thumb is sore" Larry said curtly.

"Hmmm..., it must be" Walt replied in a thoughtful sort of admiration.

That is what I call conclusive thinking. Thank you Walt and Larry for putting your coworker's safety at the front of your concerns. Walt and Larry's legacy has left us with the knowledge that if someone's thumb is sticking out it is invariably sore. So, the next time your good friend is looking glum look to see if his thumb is sticking out. If it is, problem solved. It's sore. It'll be better tomorrow.

Next year's goal: No one will be wearing floaties in the company photo. The corporate charter just can't handle any more 'sore thumbs' in the mix.


cskelton said...

Hahaha, good one Travis. I love analyzing not only phrases such as the ones you have in this post, but compound words as well, sometimes it can be a source of confusion:)

cskelton said...

Oh, by the way, I love the new picture.