the origins of a few more curious English expressions:

I’m guessing English and French had a bad break up. It must have been French that called it off. ‘It’s not you, swee, it’s me. You are lovely. Lovelier than I can say. You have the most exquisite proverbs. Your puns, your unrivaled turn of phrase, your conjunctions… I won’t even bring up how stunning your sarcasm is. But I need to do me for some time. I’m so sorry, love. Perhaps we can be friends?’

But English would have none of that nonsense. No, sir. Hell hath no fury like a language scorned. She told French to take his offer of friendship and shove it up his orifice(s). She splashed the remainder of her appletinni in his face and stormed off. She found a drunk slang dozing off in a corner and stuck her tongue down his throat. And then she hired the best attorney in the languages. She took his house. She scratched all his Coldplay CD’s. She bled him dry. Most importantly, though, she took his words. She did not borrow them, she took them.

She would encounter other languages in the future, and in time, she would learn to deal with them. But French was the first to break her heart. The first and the last, and she would never let him forget it. If anyone asked, she only dated him for his vowels.

Aaaanyhow…lets rewrite history a bit more.

Cloud Nine:

Once upon a time, there lived an explorer (whose name is withheld for copyright reasons), who discovered a cloud. On an exploratory tour of the mountain that loomed over his village, he encountered, for what he was sure was the first time in human history, the wispy bundles of air that hung untethered in the air. It was a big moment for him. The Scientific Society had previously laughed off his attempts to convince them that the world was round, so he knew this was the discovery of a lifetime. He proceeded to name it-get this- Cloud 1.

His excitement was such that he decided to continue his journey. No one had made this trek before, he was sure. So he went further and further up the mountain, his elation growing. And at each step, he found a new cloud and named it accordingly.

As he approached the ninth cloud, he felt the cold begin to seep into his body. He would not survive much higher up, he realized. But what a discovery! He took out his notebook and scribbled: Discovered cloud nine! On top of the world!

He was found there the next day, curled up in a frozen pile, the ghost of a grin still on his face.

Wouldn’t be caught dead in:

They called it the trial of the century. The seventeenth century, that is. When legendary designer Pierre Olivier was found dead in his loft in Paris, it caused a scandal of global proportions. Not so much because of the death itself. People died all the time back then. Nor was it because of the celebrity status of the designer, who was considered the greatest of his generation. No, what raised eyebrows was the fact that he died in a baggy pair of jeans and over-sized shoes.

This being the seventeenth century, baggy clothes for men were unheard of. Unsightly. So unnatural, in fact, that it convinced the entire town that their beloved Pierre had been murdered. Surely, the Pierre they knew, who came up with knee socks and breeches, would never wear such ill-fitting rags. And those shoes?! No, someone had killed him and dressed him thus to mock his good name.

Such was the conviction of his widow as she walked to the police to demand an investigation be held. Why? Well, simply, her late husband would never allow himself to be seen, dead or otherwise, in that flapping monstrosity.

The elephant in the room:

For many years, Moses Banes had referred to his wife in secret as ‘the elephant’. It was unflattering, he knew. He loved his wife immensely, in spite of the extra pounds of flesh behind which she hid these days. So, the first time the name came to him as he watched her clean underneath the couch, he immediately rebuked himself. But on several occasions, he caught himself using it, until eventually he let it slip to one, then two friends.
It was quite funny, actually. The nickname allowed him to conduct semi-secret discussions with his friends about his wife in her presence. Right under her nose, too. This went on until one day, when his wife caught on to the little joke and decided to get back at him. She acquired a young elephant from a nearby circus and set it loose in her house. Elsewhere, her husband, who was walking home, was suddenly confronted by a host of concerned neighbours.

“Sir, there is an elephant in your house”

His initial response, understandably, was “My wife? I know, miss”. He argued with the villagers for a long time, because the villagers didn’t seem to have any sense of humour.

This would become the brunt of many of the jokes his friends would make about him. And, eventually, his rebuttal became the standard ‘I don’t want to talk about the elephant in the house’.

And now you know.

The Opposite Sex:

The research took months. Bespectacled eyes pored over pages and pages of data. Tests were conducted. Questions were asked and answered. The world waited with bated breath.

Finally, the mad scientist published his findings:

“Women, or the female species, unlike men, or the male species, possess a natural tendency to slip in and out of insanity, independent of external influence. For this reason, based on our findings, we are declaring them the opposite sex.”

True story.

Ah, English.

P.S: I have recently ventured into those dark corridors of twitter, after resisting the urge this long. A nigga needs some followers, people (@sir_guss). For the occasional flashes of brilliance.


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