“You know, Mr Wind-up Bird, you’re a grown man. Why don’t you use your head a little bit?”
Haruki Murakami, The Wind-up Bird Chronicle
I have another confession to make; this time it’s not my poor timing but more a struggle I have with language. I am absolutely and inextricably terrible with idioms. My 100 word story, Toe to Toe is a play on this woeful crapness. Let me give you some examples:
Number One – “I don’t know him from Adam.”
Now, to most people it is probably quite a straight forward saying; but to me, it became an obsession. Who was Adam? Why don’t you know him from me? Does he look like me? WHO IS ADAM?
My wife put me out of my spiral of miserable ineptitude by explaining it to me. It is about the Biblical Adam and basically, they wouldn’t recognise someone because they don’t know them. Or something to that effect. Whatever.
Number Two – “Keeping your eyes on the ball.”
Less a failure to understand and more a catastrophic attempt to apply. In a business meeting once, I was presenting a new and ambitious project I had planned. Young, fresh-faced and full of the joys of a new job. I insisted they consider my proposals, it would be most beneficial now and in the future. I do believe I said:
“We need to keep being on the game.”
Cue howls of laughter and a look of pure bewilderment on yours truly’s face. I’ve got it now, yes thank you. And no, I’m not offering anyone a good time. Anyone.