As I Was Saying

The other day, I was in a meeting, listening intently as one does, when suddenly a colleague said, “Yes, if we do that, it’s like killing two birds with one shovel.” I immediately did a double-take, first because things seemed to have escalated quickly from talking about policy decisions to violently murdering birds, and second, because as far as I know, the original saying is “Kill two birds with one stone” and where the hell did the shovel come from?! I mean, the original saying is bad enough—I suppose it means accomplishing two things at once, but who was the sadist who thought the best metaphor for that was the slaughter of our avian friends with projectiles? And now we’ve upped the game to some bizarre game of stealth, because there’s no way you can bludgeon two birds with one shovel unless you have the reflexes of a ninja (and the soul of a serial killer). And it got me thinking about other weird sayings:

1) A bird in the hand is better than two in the bush

Is it really though? Have you ever actually tried to hold a bird in your hand? Those little f*ckers get pretty pecky. I’d much rather have two birds merrily singing in a bush than one of them trying to bite my damn finger off.

2) Eating crow

This saying is interchangeable with “eating humble pie” and let me tell you, I’d much rather eat pie than a crow. Is the crow IN a pie? How is crow best served? Personally, if I was forced to eat a crow, I’d like it in a stir fry, smothered with spicy peanut sauce and served with a side of rice noodles. Or I could just not eat it at all, because according to the first idiom, I would have to kill it with a stone. Or a shovel. Neither of those options sounds appealing.

3) Throwing the baby out with the bathwater

Were old-timey people really this villainous, with their birdicide and baby neglect? I used to think that this expression meant one thing, but apparently I was wrong:

Me: So throwing the baby out with the bathwater refers to someone being stupid, right? Like “He’s so dumb, he threw the baby out with the bathwater.” And then he had to go get the baby and give it another bath because it was all muddy and whatnot?
Ken: No, it’s an old saying from when people only bathed once a week. First, the grandparents had a bath, then the parents, then all the kids. By the time the baby’s turn came, the water was so dirty that no one realized the baby was in the bathtub.
Me: So the person who was bathing the baby was like, “Yawn, think I’ll go have a drink” and just forgot about the baby? I suspect my initial assumption was right.
Ken: No, it means losing something you like along with something you don’t.
Me: Well, I like babies. I’m changing this to “throwing the pearls out with the jewelry box”.
Ken: Random, but OK.

4) Like taking candy from a baby

This expression is SUPPOSED to mean that something was really easy, but it’s completely inaccurate. Have you ever actually tried to take candy from a baby? They will scream and pout and generally make your life miserable. I wasn’t even allowed to dip into Kate’s Hallowe’en haul without being accused of grand larceny. Seriously. Just TRY taking candy from babies. They will cut you.

Of course, the current popular expression around our house is “YOU GO, PELETON!” because Peleton has upped their game with new commercials showing people exercising and being called out personally by the virtual trainers, and I really wanted a Peleton so that I could be part of the cool club. But they’re super-expensive, so instead, Ken promised to randomly yell, “YOU GO, PELETON!” or “YOU DID THAT, PELETON!” at me for encouragement. And the best part is that I don’t even have to exercise. Easy as crow pie.

63 thoughts on “As I Was Saying

  1. suze hartline says:

    Humble pie was a standard dinner in the middle ages. and yes, it was made with crow instead of chicken or some other bird. Poor people couldn’t afford to be eating the egg layers….so they ate crow.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I love it when people mix their metaphors. I once had a boss who wrote in correspondence to a client that a key party was still “feeling their feet” – instead of “finding their feet” or “feeling their way”. 🤣

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I used to have a puzzle that was a visualization of these sayings. It was awesome, although I was too you to understand half of them.

    Careful with your wish: according to co-workers, Peleton = pain & injury. I’d stick with Ken’s random yet motivational declarations.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. “Personally, if I was forced to eat a crow, I’d like it in a stir fry, smothered with spicy peanut sauce and served with a side of rice noodles.” Lol. I think eating crow is something you do after the chicken tried to cross the road.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. All of these explanation made snort/laugh out loud, lol. I often wondered this myself, and of course how they came about. Did you know Peleton in Spanish is slang for “ballsy?” Or someone with big balls, I laughed so hard when it first came out because, well, ballsy 🤣. I once worked with someone that would constantly say “Well, it isn’t rocket surgery” and I’d always respond, “Omg! When did rockets start getting surgery!?”
    I did it enough times to where she stopped being so arrogant and probably looked up the saying and realized she was saying it wrong, lmao.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Hmmmmm, I’m trying to figure out which I dislike more…. birds or babies? Evil Me is perfectly fine with these sayings… though I might not actually want someone to take them literally. Maybe I can compromise and throw the dirty bathwater on the crows, or something…

    Liked by 2 people

  7. “Can’t find your fanny in an outhouse with a roadmap.” This one is my husband’s favorite saying, which I do not say, but my son has picked it up and used it in a Zoom meeting with his professor. I heard him. I was horrified.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I love your blog and reading you weekly. I laughed so much at these. The other one when I was growing up was: I’ll be back in two shakes. The whole saying is I will be back in two shakes of a lamb’s tail’ meaning you are speedy. But are you lamb tail speedy?

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I’m so glad you brought up, “You go, Peloton!” because this is something that has been pissing me off for over a year now. On the commercials, random people are shown sitting on exercise bikes in front of TV screens tuned to an over-enthusiastic trainer shouting encouragement at unseen living room cyclists. Obviously, the trainer doesn’t and can’t know the names of those currently engaged in Peloton-enhanced exercise, so she simply refers to him/her/them as “Peloton”. WTF?!? When you purchase something online, does your laptop suddenly shout “You go, Amazon!!” No, it doesn’t. Because that would be stupid.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. What weird idioms/ sayings we have.
    Personally, I’ve always hated ‘killing two birds with one stone.’ Over here, we say, ‘killing two flies…’, which is equally bad so every time I need to explain sth like that to B, I tend to avoid the killing part. He doesn’t need to know what we’re capable of just yet.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I had an English professor who said “humble pie” originally was a terrible form of cannibalism that didn’t just involve eating a person but specifically their intestines. I don’t know what’s humble about that. And I can’t find anything to back that up either, although I have confirmed that “humble pie” was a peasant food made with animal innards, but then you have the Scottish who refused to be humble. They took that humble pie and called it haggis and made it their national dish. Now there’s a “You go, Peloton!” kind of people for you.
    And you’ve got me completely rethinking taking candy from a baby. Not that I would but, well, how old is the baby we’re talking about here? If it’s a small enough baby you don’t even have to take it from them because they have a short attention span and will drop candy. I remember being given one of those giant lollipops when I was, I think, three, and I got bored with it before I was even halfway done. No one had to take it from me because I would have given it away.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I’ve watched most of Scott Rea’s videos. He’s an English butcher turned youtuber. Here’s one I recall:

    Heuristics are one of my favorite tricks in life. If you can simplify a complex task or lesson into a few words that remind you of the underlying theme — go for it, get ‘r done, just do it!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Scribblans says:

    In the UK we have a phrase that we use a lot at the moment, mostly when discussing how HMG is currently running the country ‘Couldn’t organise a piss-up in a brewery’.
    I suspect we couldn’t use that one for you.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I’ve always assumed that two birds with one stone was someone hunting with a slingshot. That would be an accomplishment but WTF Two birds with one shovel? My husband’s dad who is 88 told us about his dad making them to hunt black birds when he was a child so they could have food for dinner.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Heavy chuckling here. Put me in mind of “4 and 20 blackbirds baked in a pie.” It turns out to be a nursery rhyme about Henry VIII. (Offing his wife.) O yes, you have hit the Word jackpot with those old expressions. I always wondered what ‘throwing the baby out with the bath water’ was about too.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. SNL did an entertaining take on Peloton: Pelotaunt. People are being taunted and mocked as motivation for exercise… I thought it didn’t go far enough, and should have been Felontaunt, when felons are taunting, mocking, and threatening you if you don’t do the damn exercise.

    Never liked the whole bird-killing theme. Why not something like, “It’s like feeding two kids with one boob.” Would that work?

    Cheers

    Liked by 2 people

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