Last night’s show was, well…interesting to say the least.
At one point I was describing Groovehouse‘s eagerness to answer and screen calls as we were inviting listeners to call in. I used the idiom “chafing at the bit” as in “Groovehouse is chafing at the bit to take your call.”
At this point I noticed someone on IRC and Phliktid having a good laugh I asked them to share what was so funny.
Apparently someone in IRC found great humor in my application of the word “chafing” and pointed out that it should be “chomping” or possibly “champing”, suggesting that “chafing” was incorrect and intimating that the connotations of “chafing” was strictly an inside the pants situation.
Basically he called me out on a mixed metaphor. I was horrified. Could I really have been using an incorrect figure of speech so egregiously all my life? That’s unpossible!
I struggled vainly to explain that it could totally be “chafing” when one considers that a horse straining against the bit of the bridle might chafe the inside of the horse’s mouth but he would have none of it.
For the sake of good radio I conceded my lifelong error and moved on. Until this morning when I did some research. As it turns out “chafing at the bit” is completely interchangeable with “chomping/champing at the bit” and is a widely accepted version of the idiom.
IN YOUR FACE, SPACE COYOTE!
Another incident involved the idiom “Curiosity killed the cat” used by a caller to describe his efforts to diagnose his own problem and perhaps going a bit too far and ending up doing more damage.
When the caller said that, I responded with a quick quip along the lines of “we like dead cats.” at which point one of our guests looked like he’d been hit by a truck. Oh yea, he’s a huge cat person. I should not have been surprised.
It certainly was not my intention to offend any cat lovers (although they are such easy targets). What I meant was that if curiosity kills cats then those who appreciate or participate in curious behavior (something that describes most nerds) must like dead cats.
Not literally! I was being idiomatic!
It’s not like we had a real bridle on Groovehouse chomping, chafing or otherwise. Of course no-one seemed to take issue with the idea when the idiom was used. No one rallyed to Groove’s cause when it might be suggested that, even if only idiomatically, he might be strapped into some type of riding harness. But use the word “dead” and the word “cat” in a sentence and watch out!
Anyway, I stand by my free lance idiom “I like dead cats” to describe my curiosity and offer it up unto the every-growing lexicon of language. In fact, upon further reflection and refinement of thought I would add “I’m killing a cat” and “I’m committing cat suicide” as ways to describe indulging in one’s curiosity.
For the record, I do like cats and I am in no way an advocate of killing them.