You have to admit that some of the expressions that Americans use to describe people or comment on the state of things are pretty interesting. I have made a list of some of them, and, being the person I am, cannot resist adding my unique comments. Disclaimer: I do not plan to go to the trouble of researching any of this, so you are free to take whatever I write with a grain of salt (see No. 2 below) as possibly being the product of a disjointed mind with nothing better to do.
Dumber Than a Sack of Hair
Why people choose to equate lack of intelligence with being stuffed with hair is beyond me, but let’s face it – if your head is full of hair instead of brain cells you are going to be pretty stupid. Also, have you ever thought of how useless hair is when it isn’t attached to your head? Just ask any hairdresser who has to sweep the mess off the floor after giving someone a haircut. A sack full of that stuff is a pretty idiotic thing to keep around for no reason.
The Lights Are On, But Nobody’s Home
In other words, that person’s body is moving, but he/she is so dumb that it is questionable if there is a real human inside. I like this one, especially the electric light metaphor. Metaphors do that to me sometimes. Psychiatrists want to study me, just for this – well, and a couple of other reasons that I’m not telling.
A Couple of Sandwiches Short of a Picnic
Ah! Another metaphor to describe someone who is many IQ points below MENSA level. This one is more flexible. It can also be used for someone who is a little bonkers, but not enough to be committed or told to stay upstairs when company comes over. This expression can be modified by using other metaphors of incompleteness. Example: a couple of pages short of a novel; a couple of beers short of a six-pack; etc.
2. QUESTIONABLE HONESTY OR RELIABILITY
Take It (i.e. Something that Someone Said) With a Grain of Salt
I don’t understand. What does salt have to do with the reliability of a source of information? And why just one grain of salt for the skeptic? Isn’t that pretty stingy? Come on! If someone has the brains to question your statements and the nerve to say so, at least give the person a teaspoon of salt for his trouble.
Liar, Liar! Pants on Fire!
This is baffling. Why would someone’s pants spontaneously combust just because the wearer tells a lie? Even better: HOW does a pair of pants automatically know when to catch fire? I think this was made up by some anonymous smart mouthed kid back in the old days and went viral. That’s what I think.
3. BEING A VICTIM OF CRUEL FATE
(I/You/He/She/They)(Have/Has) Been Screwed/Fucked
You would think that sex, being an inherently pleasurable activity, would not be used to indicate bad luck, unfortunate life choices or falling for a scam, but it is. I think this got started because using dirty words gave emphasis to a complaint. (“Ummvv! You said “fuck!”) You’ll get a lot more attention with “I am screwed” than you would with “I am really unlucky and I fell for a grifter.” Just saying.
Colder Than a Witch’s Tit
If a witch were to stick her chest into a bucket of ice cubes for twenty minutes, you could say she had cold tits. Other than that, I don’t think so. This whole thing got started because people back in medieval times thought that all witches had extra tits to use to nourish either their familiar animal spirits or Satan, or both. Whenever anyone was accused of witchcraft, the authorities could have a good time searching the body of the accused by sticking her (or sometimes him) with something sharp. This wasn’t fun for the suspected witch, but at least this test wouldn’t kill her, like some of the others did. The theory was that if they found a spot where she couldn’t feel the pain that was where the secret spot was. It was supposed to have no sensation. Thus: colder than a witch’s tit.
I didn’t make that up. Honest.
Raining Cats and Dogs
Has anyone ever seen a cat or a dog freefalling from a cloud? Neither have I. I often see my cat jumping down from windowsills, furniture and the top of the kitchen cabinet, but as far as I know she has never tumbled down from the sky, although there are times I swear she came from another planet. That’s a whole other story, though.
Nobody really knows for sure how this expression got started, which is okay with me because it’s dumber than a sack of hair.