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The Anatomy of Everyday Expressions

Updated on October 10, 2012
A good time to laugh is any time you can.  ~Linda Ellerbee
A good time to laugh is any time you can. ~Linda Ellerbee

A Conversation to Tickle Your Funny Bone

Have you ever noticed we use many expressions or phrases every day dealing with human anatomy? To illustrate, I’ve written a hypothetical conversation taking place during job interviews. To set the scene, the first applicant is just about finished with his interview. The other two applicants are workmates, surprised to bump into each other. These applicants will be referred to as #1, # 2 and #3. The conversation begins:

(#2) "Hey! I didn't expect to see you here. I thought you didn't have the stomach for any more interviews and were staying put."

(#3) "Yes, I admit I was hesitant about coming today. I felt like I didn't have a leg to stand on because the person we're meeting has a real eye for detail, probably more anal than most, too. Then the thought 'nothing ventured nothing gained' won out. I psyched myself up to believe I'm clearly the best choice hands down. That's my story straight from the hip."

(#2) "I’ve got to hand it to you, I think you’re a better fit than I. It's hard to get your foot in the door with this company. So, we’re both doing great to be in the top three candidates." (Just then #1 walked into the waiting area.)

(#3) "He looks a little down in the mouth, wouldn’t you say?"

(#2) "Yes. Wonder what happened?"

(#3) (said to #1) "Excuse me. I don’t mean to be nosy, but how did it go?"

(#1) "Oh boy! Several times I had brain freeze, so it was clearly not my best interview. He had the nerve to ask if I would take a big cut in salary and didn’t even bat an eyelash. Well, that didn’t sit too well. It’s not that I expect to make money hand over fist starting out, and I know sometimes you have to take it on the chin, but I just turned on my heels and left. I don’t have the guts for this. I hope you both do better. Here’s a big thumb’s up."

(#3) "Thanks! Keep a stiff upper lip. Let’s face it, you’ll find something better."

(As #1 walks out the door, they hear of the staff whispering and laughing with the interviewer.)

(#3) "That’s a shame. I know he feels bad, but I hope he’s not the butt of their jokes."

(#2) "My heart goes out to him. I have a lump in my throat. (big sigh) So, it looks now like you and me will be going neck and neck. Of course you know I say that tongue in cheek."

(Applicant #2 is called in for her interview.)

(#3) (thinking) "I’m going to have to project more confidence—maybe muscle my way in and go belly up to the bar as they say! I want to go to the head of the class. Guess I better eyeball my notes while I’m waiting."

(After 15 minutes, #2 comes back to the waiting area.)

(#2) "Don’t worry. It wasn’t a hair-raising experience. There’s no need for you to have cold feet. I think you are clearly the right choice for this job and, if you knuckle down, you’ll be able to shoulder the responsibility well. Don’t tiptoe. Go in and show some backbone."

(#3) "Thanks for your support. I hope you’re right. I really want this job, and I'll be on my knees if I get it. Cross your fingers."

(#2) "Let me know later how it went. You may just beat me out by the skin of your teeth though! Of course I’m just ribbing you. Breathe deep from your diaphragm, nice and slow before you go in.

(The interviewer calls #3)

(#2) Now, Break a leg! You’ve got this one!

(#3) "From your mouth to God’s ears. I’ll call you later."


____Author's Note:

Just as we use these phrases everyday and give no thought to the human body when we say them, so it is with going about daily living. How often does one relate habits and choices throughout the day to how they are impacting their health? These instead become second nature.

You’ve heard before ‘you are what you eat.’ You’re also what you digest, absorb and assimilate along with what you think about, dwell upon and sound down into your heart. Awareness of these things and follow-through are priceless; yet, they won’t cost you an arm and a leg!


























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