” All slang is metaphor, and all metaphor is poetry.”

Okay, I am a sloth. It was 11 o’clock before I woke up this morning. Granted, I didn’t go to bed until nearly two, but I was shocked at the time when I finally got out of bed. Fern and Gracie too were sloths as both were with me. They are now on the den couch taking their afternoon naps so they are the slothest (a new word coinage). Gracie is even snoring.

Last night we celebrated Chinese New Year, a couple of days late but it was our first opportunity. My friends and I made lanterns first then did paper cutting. I actually cut one which looked like the picture. I was amazed as I am a horrible follower of pictures. We played a game of cards then ordered Chinese food. Clare and I used our chopsticks. Tony did not. He can’t get his fingers to work. I gave him a child’s set attached together at the top one Christmas, but he has no idea where it is. We make fun of him, but he’s used to that. Not knowing what to serve for dessert, I went internet hunting and found coconut ice was a choice, and that’s what I bought. It was a perfect ending. I watched when Tony and Clare left to walk down the street to their house. They were carrying lit lanterns and wearing their round Chinese hats. I always sort of wonder what the neighbors think.

A tempest in a teapot is one of those wonderful metaphors which has disappeared. It came to mind the other night while I was waiting to fall asleep. I have no idea why it popped in, but I don’t usually analyze where my head goes. It would give me a headache. When I woke up, I thought about all those other lost metaphors, all those colorful phrases no longer used. When was the last time anyone was out of the frying pan into the fire? I remember when we used to plant a seed, reach the end of our ropes, put all our ducks in a row and draw a line in the sand.

The one metaphor I hear all too often is drinking the Kool-Aid. It doesn’t refer to Ken Kesey as I originally thought it did because of Tom Wolfe’s book, a must read for my generation back in the late 60’s and early 70’s; instead, it refers to Jonestown and means unquestioning belief in someone or something. I don’t like this metaphor. I don’t like its origin, and I cringe when I hear it used.

Let’s go back and start using metaphors like what’s good for the goose is good for the gander or you sound like a broken record; of course, if we use that one, we’ll just have to explain what a record is and what happens when it’s broken.

Explore posts in the same categories: Uncategorized

Tags: , , , ,

Both comments and pings are currently closed.

23 Comments on “” All slang is metaphor, and all metaphor is poetry.””

  1. Zoey & Me Says:

    True. Few would know what a broken record looks like. But some people I work with do sound like a broken record. I hate the kool-ade line too but it’s really not a faith thing it’s to mean someone crazy like the head of Jonestown. I grew up “wishing upon a star” and do remember all those metaphors you listed. The pan calling the kettle black is a good one. Not sure it goes like that but we heard them all plus a major threat “God will punish you for doing that”. This was truly the worst thing you could say to a kid going to Catholic school. Great post today Kat, save for Coffee Book!

  2. Kat Says:

    I have read it means blind faith but not necessarily religious.

    That would be the pot and the kettle calling each other names. I remember doing an interview for a secretary’s position when one of the candidates gave an answer which made me leave the room before I lost it. Her comment in reply to my question was, “You’ve hit the nose right on the head.”

    I think “God will punish you for doing that” is more of a threat than a metaphor.

  3. olof1 Says:

    I love those old metafores and we still use many of them over here. Don’t shout hi before You cross the creek wich means don’r proclaim victory too early. Don’t go over the creek to get some water, well that oine explaines itself I think, A hare never shoots close, hare in this case means a coward and a coward never comes close to what he/she aimes for.

    My favorite is Empty barrels makes the most sound, wich means that people that brags about themselves usually is the ones that knows the least 🙂 🙂

    I woke up twelve o clock last night and then a couple of times more so I’ve been so tired all day. But the weekend si comming and I don’t mind 🙂

    Have a greatv day!

    • Kat Says:

      Your metaphors and ours are different. I love the ones about the creek crossing and the hare.

      We too have the empty barrels one and another which is the squeaky wheel gets the most grease.

      I wouldn’t dare to be tired given how late I woke up.

  4. Bill S. Says:

    With this metaphor conversation, I think you have opened up a whole box of Pandoras.

  5. Bob Says:

    This is the year of the Dragon in the Chinese calendar. I celebrated in Toronto by eating in a very authentic Chinese restaurant. I know it was authentic because I was the only Caucasian person eating there and the manager wished every other guest a happy new year. They had barbecued ducks, chickens and geese hanging over the counter which is a sure sign that it is authentic. I ordered the barbecued pork on rice, which is a famous dish in Hong Kong. The pork in Toronto was every bit as good as in China without the long plane ride. I have a lot of trouble eating with chop sticks. While in China my chop stick skills greatly increased out of necessary. In one restaurant the waitress felt sorry for me and gave me a fork. I was also the only person I saw in China who ate with the left hand.

    How about the saying, “That’s like the pot calling the kettle black”. I don’t know if anyone today would know what a kettle was. Another one is “I’m as busy as a one legged man in butt kicking contest” or its companion, “I’m as busy as a one armed paper hanger”. Red Barber, former broadcaster for the Brooklyn Dodgers, always had colorful Southern metaphors such as, “He’s sittin’ in the cat bird’s seat” for he has the lead or “He’s running like a bunny with his tail on fire” for he can sure run fast or “They’re tearin’ up the pea patch” for a winning streak. Another on was,”Tighter than a new pair of shoes on a rainy day” for a close contest. Today broadcasters can’t use these kind of phrases because of political correctness. We want to be like the Swiss, so we don’t offend anyone.

    • Kat Says:

      I had a dragon stretched across my dining room in honor of this being his year.

      In Boston’s Chinatown the windows of stores have animals hanging like ducks and geese. I love walking all around there and feeling as if I were really in China.

      I never heard the one about the one legged man. That’s a first for me, but I knew the one armed paper hanger.

      When Jerry Remie was out for cancer treatment, Dennis Eckersly was his home game replacement. He filled his commentary with all sorts of colorful phrases. Once he blurted out shit and there was no gap to prevent its airing. Sheepishly he asked if that was going to get him into trouble. Don said, ” Definitely!”

      I don’t see where the Barberisms you mentioned would be considered non-PC. They don’t seem to offend any one. I know they’d be acceptable in the Boston booth and not a single listened would think twice..

      • Bob Says:

        The modern versions would be non PC. I don’t think modern baseball fans would understand any of Red Barber’s southern country sayings. Today, we are too sophisticated and too connected.

  6. J.M. Heinrichs Says:

    “The proof of the pudding lies in the eating thereof.”
    “The exception that proves the rule” indicates a conclusive test, not a demonstration of the rule’s accuracy.
    “The Red Socks are the best team in baseball” is not a truism.


    • Kat Says:

      I take umbrage with your last statement.

      I want to thank you. Thursday is trivia night at a local watering hole, and we go every week. I alone, on my team, knew the answer to this question, ” What country awards the Grery Cup?” I knew Canada right away because of you!

  7. Pete Says:

    Best think of Colorado Cool-Ade. Also known as Coors beer,

    Just listen to the Johnny Paycheck song of the same name

    • Kat Says:

      Okay, I’ll think Coors!

      I didn’t even know of that song but then again I wouldn’t-you know my gap in music!

  8. splendid Says:

    I love this post. Metaphors have become more read than said. I enjoy them and they convey much more than just the original thought, thanks kat!

    • Kat Says:

      I have no idea where the tempest in a teapot came from-it just popped into my head, and I took off from there.

      I love metaphors-can’t stand cliches. Our language has become far less colorful and far more technical. A metaphor makes people think a bit-for that reason alone we should keep them around!

      Thanks, splendid!

  9. Kat Says:


  10. J.M. Heinrichs Says:

    You might enjoy this:
    … it’s about a metaspore.


    • Kat Says:

      I found that amazing. It is so difficult to imagine a mushroom which can fill 1,665 football fields and is so old.

      You’re right: I enjoyed it.

  11. Lori Kossowsky Says:

    I really enjoyed this post and want to re-read it when and if I get a few more brain cells working. Ah, I found a few more cells.
    The Kool -Aid metaphor breaks my heart. I was in SF at the time, and If I am correct it was only a few days before when Moscone, and Harvey Milk were murdered. There was a candlelight vigil to the civic center where Joan Baez sang “Amazing Grace” Let’s make up some metaphors just for fun… with of course Kat beginning.
    Waving like a candle in the wind ( sorry, that’s the best I could do on this slothful afternoon)

    • Kat Says:

      I guess I’d rather a storm than a tempest in a teacup! The song has lovely lyrics.

      Harvey Milk and Mayor Moscone were murdered on Nov. 27,1978. Jonestown was a bit earlier on the 18th.

      Hate to break your metaphor bubble but waving like a candle is a simile.

  12. Lori Kossowsky Says:

    Ouch, now I’m curled up in a broken bubble… I knew I needed a few more braincells, or puzzle pieces. Time to take a nap.

    • Kat Says:

      Poor Lori and her bubble!

      It would be going to bed for the night if I napped at 7:30, your time. My sleeping of late has been weird enough. The other night I was in bed at 11 and slept until 9, too long, too many hours though my mother would have said, “You must have needed it.”

      Remember, any nap after 4 affects your night sleeping.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: