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 It was on one of those beautiful days we’ve been having lately when someone I was chatting with said, “it’s days like this that remind me of the phrase: “make hay while the sun shines.” I had to admit it wasn’t the first thing I thought about, but agreed it was the kind of day that would inspire such a thought. I got to thinking and realized that I only know one person who makes hay and I’ve always just assumed he did all his hay-making while the sun shines. This friend does very well with his fields of hay and recently bought himself a $30,000 hay baler with money made with hay he cut, dried, baled and sold all while the sun was shining.
It also got me to thinking about all the other clever expressions that can clutter up or sometimes even enhance our daily conversations – expressions we know little about.
They say that people who cry wolf are just the kind of people who would cry over spilt milk.
And if someone said, “Don’t beat around the bush,” would that be any different from being told not to, “beat a dead horse?” Beating around a dead bush might be closer.
If given a choice would you prefer to cut the mustard or cut to the chase? I have no desire to do either, if it’s all the same – which it seldom is.
When forced to do so, do you go back to square one, or back to the drawing board? And where exactly is square one in reference to the drawing board? You should know these things in case you go to one, then change your mind and want and want to go back to the other. My friend actually works on a drawing board but, I’m not aware of a “square” being anywhere near it.
If asked, could you distinguish between something that takes the cake, or something that’s “a piece of cake” or “having your cake and eating it too?
Would you be able to pick between something that’s described as: “a dime-a-dozen” and something that’s “a piece of cake?” Never mind asking who got the rest of the cake.
Ever get up on the wrong side of the bed and the first thing at work someone gets your goat, which really gets your gander up? All this could happen to you and you wouldn’t have a clue about any of it, would you?
When at a party, are you more likely to “break the ice” or “burst the bubble?
And we’ve all heard of “taking umbrage,” but if, for some reason you “took umbrage” would you have any idea what it was you were taking?
And, if asked to nip something in the bud, would you have any idea what to do? Neither would I.

John McDonald is a humorist and storyteller who performs regularly throughout
New England. Contact John at or 899-1868.
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