We have a lot of expressions in the English language that we use all or most of the time and we never seem to examine them very closely. We just say them as if they really made sense.
Legally Drunk. If it’s legal then what’s the problem? Leave the guy alone because he’s legally drunk!
You know where you can stick it. Why do we always assume everyone knows where they can stick it? Suppose you don’t know, suppose you’re a new guy! You absolutely have no idea where to stick it.
Selling like hotcakes. Is this the fastest-selling item we can think of for this figure of speech? Hotcakes? Seriously? Beer! Cigarettes! Coffee! Even eggs! You go to an average place where people go and have their breakfast and you’ll find that a lot of people are ordering eggs than people who are ordering hotcakes. But it doesn’t sound right, does it? “Justin Bieber’s new album is selling like eggs”. People won’t say that. Doesn’t have the right ring to it.
Undisputed Heavyweight Champion. Well if it’s undisputed what’s all the fighting about?
That’s the last draw. That one doesn’t seem to be fair to me. I think you have to warn the guy first. “That’s the next to the last draw!”. Let him/her know that he’s running out of draws.
Down the pike. “He’s the most meanest to come down the pike”. Fine. What about guys who come up the pike? “Not everybody lives north of the pike”. Some guys come up the pike and they’re really mean and nobody mentions them at all. What about the guy who doesn’t even use the pike?
Down the tubes. You’ve heard that a lot, especially during the 90s. “Boy the country is really going the down the tubes”. WHAT TUBES? Have you seen any tubes? Where are these tubes and where do they go? How come there’s more than one tube? Does every province all of a sudden have its own tube now? One tube is all you need. But a tube that big, somebody should have seen it by now! Somebody would have said “Hey Paolo! Look at the tube!”. You never hear that, you know why? No tubes.
Takes the cake. “Boy he really takes the cake”. Where? Where do you take a cake, to the movies? You know where I would take a cake? Down to the bakery to see the other cakes. How come he takes the cake? How come he doesn’t take the pie? Pies are easier to carry than the cake. EASY AS PIE! But cake isn’t too hard to carry either. PIECE OF CAKE.
Out in the streets. You hear this when a criminal gets a parole in the prison. “Now instead of being in prison this guy is out walking in the streets!”. How do we know? Maybe he’s at home watching TV. Not every guy who gets a parole is out walking in the streets! Sometimes he’ll take a bus. Occasionally they’ll steal a car! We ought to be glad. Good thing he stole a car. At least he’s not out there walking in the streets!
Fine and dandy. That’s an old-fashioned one. “How are you?!”, “Fine and dandy!”. I never say that, you know why? I’m never both of those things at the same time. Sometimes I’m fine but not dandy. Close to dandy. Approaching dandy. In the vicinity of dandihood. Not quite dandy. Other times, indeed, I am dandy but not fine. There was about one time, February 2006, that I was fine and dandy but nobody asked how I was!
The riot act. Have you ever heard of that? I got tired of hearing that, especially coming from my mother. “You wait until your father comes home he’s going to read you the riot act!”, “Tell him I’ve read it myself! I didn’t like it either! I consider it wordy and poorly thought out!”. If they want to read me something, HOW ABOUT THE KAMA SUTRA?
More than happy. I’ll bet you’ll say that one. You’ll say “I’d be more than happy to do that!”. How can you be more than happy? To me it sounds like a dangerous mental condition!
In your own words. People say that to you all the time. “Tell us in your own words!”. Do I have my own words? I’M USING THE ONES THAT EVERYONE IS USING! Next time they tell you to say something in your own words say “BLA BLA BLA YADDA YADDA YADDA!”.