Smarty Spot

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

One Gilligan Short

Many may not know this, but English is not my first language. Having been born a dog, and more specifically a female red whippet, my first languages are barking and begging.

For me, English is much easier to write than to speak. To be honest, I don't speak a lick of it.

I'm a bit intimidated by English. And it's not because of the spelling or grammar - both of which are plenty confusing! No, no, it's the idioms. Those little phrases that seem to make no sense unless you're a human.

For example, a radio program the other day was discussing different ways of saying "stupid." One way is to say, "That person is a few fries short of a Happy Meal." Now what does that mean, and how could you be a few fries short if it's such a happy experience? I think you'd have to be out to lunch to talk that way. Another way to call someone stupid is to say "the wheel is spinning but the hamster has died." Kind of morbid. And then they offered this: "That person is one Gilligan short of an island." My owner thought this was quite funny, but I'm still out to sea on that one.

But I will say, the other day I was out gettting acquainted with our new houseguests, and some of the phrases started making more sense. For example:

"It takes two to tango."

"Send in the clowns."

"Don't cry over spilled milk."

"Don't look down your nose at me."

And, of course...

"Go pick on someone your own size!"

I guess that's the thing about English. You really have to experience it to learn to speak it well. Otherwise, people will think you're one bunny short of a race meet. As for me, I'm going to stick to barking.


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