Tag Archives: euphemisms

Leading You Down The Garden Path

It’s gardening season, woohoo!

If you’ve ever been to a garden centre, you’ll know why the expression “leading you down the garden path” means “deceiving you”.  I’ve been sucked in by their euphemisms more times than I can count, so today I’m going to translate some common plant-sales wording for the benefit of less jaded experienced gardeners:

“This vigorous plant will thrive anywhere”:  This innocent-looking scrap of greenery is a monster poised to attack.  As soon as you place it in the ground, it will shoot twelve-foot-long roots in all directions and new plants will spring from every inch of the roots.  If you attempt to pull it out, every tiny segment of remaining root will form a new mother plant with its own set of twelve-foot-long roots and plague of invasive children.

“This delightful woodland favourite prefers dappled shade and moist well-drained humus-rich soil”:  It’ll die no matter where you put it.

“Easy to grow”:  …If you’re a master gardener.

“Plant these seeds as soon as soil can be worked in spring”:  …But they won’t actually grow then.  This is just a clever way to make you buy a second $5.95 packet of seeds after the first batch rots in the cold soggy soil.

“These seeds require light to germinate”:  These seeds won’t germinate.  Ever.

“Attracts birds to your garden”:  Cut off its flowers the instant they fade, otherwise it’ll spew out so many seeds you’ll spend the rest of your life weeding.

“Drought-tolerant”:  …As long as your definition of ‘drought’ is “an inch of rain per week”.

“Will even grow in dry shady trouble spots”:  Yes, it will.  But it’ll send out tendrils to scout for better conditions, and when it finds them… see “This vigorous plant…” above.

“Requires support”:  It’s a pathetic weedy vine.

“Requires a sturdy trellis”:  It’ll leap out of the ground like Jack’s beanstalk and within weeks will thicken to a woody rope that scrambles up the trellis and onto the neighbouring tree, where it will subsequently crush the trellis to dust and strangle the tree.  If the trellis is attached to your house, you’d better sleep with an axe under your pillow and ten gallons of weed killer beside your bed.

“Blooms from May to September”:  Theoretically, ten minutes in July is within the range of ‘May to September’.

“Non-invasive”:  …If you live in the arctic.

“Forms a neat mounded clump”:  …In June.  By August it’s a mess of leggy stems flopped over in all directions.

“Semi-evergreen”:  Completely deciduous except for one ugly leaf that clings to the stem all winter like dirty underwear tied to a flagpole.

“Evergreen”:  Mottled olive-drab is technically a shade of green.

“Hardy once established”:  It’ll probably live, if it doesn’t die first.

“Fast-growing”:  Don’t lean over it while you’re planting unless you want to be impaled by the branches shooting skyward.  And you might as well buy a chainsaw right now, ’cause you’re gonna need it.

“Slow-growing”:  If you’re over the age of two, don’t bother planting it.  You won’t live long enough to see it reach its mature height.

“Hardy to Zone x”:  Make that “Zone x, minus 1 or 2”.

“Gardening is an inexpensive and relaxing hobby”:  I’ve got some swampland to sell you…

Chime in, gardeners!  What’s the best gardening euphemism you’ve heard?

P.S. Still no word from Amazon about why the pre-orders for Book 13 didn’t show up on Amazon Canada, UK, Australia, or any other marketplace except the U.S.  They promised to get back to me today, so… fingers crossed…

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Filed under Humour, Life

Shower Growlers And Barking Spiders

Depictions of the literary Muse always show some dreamy ethereal woman draped in a classical Greek robe, with brilliant ideas swirling like rainbows around her perfectly coiffed head.

Ha.  I wish.  Here’s the conversation I had with my Muse this week:

Me, strolling up to the Muse’s door on Monday:  *knock, knock*  Hey, there…

Muse:  What’s the matter with you?  Can’t you read the “Do Not Disturb” sign?  Get lost!

Me:  Oops.  It’s just that, well, I usually write my blog drafts today, and…

Muse:  Scram!

Me:  Okay, sorry.  Um… maybe tomorrow…?

Muse:  Yeah, whatever.

Me, shuffling bashfully up to the muse’s door on Tuesday:  *knock, knock*  Hi.  Um…

Muse:  You again?  Whaddaya want?

Me:  Um… a blog post…?

Muse:  You gotta be shitting me!  Didn’t I just bust my ass for you all morning on Book 13?

Me:  Well, yeah; and I was really happy with your ideas.  I appreciate it… but… you know I do a blog post once a week…

Muse:  Oh, for…  Okay, FINE!  Check out the Urban Dictionary for “shower growler”:  “When you’re showering you press your butt against the wall and fart, making a rumbling growl and vibrating the walls of the shower.”*

(*Note:  This was not even the Muse’s own idea – my friend Chris emailed it to me last week.)

Me:  Come on, I need more than that.

Muse, glowering dangerously:  Oh yeah?

Me, finding a backbone at last and glowering in return:  Yeah!

Muse, emitting a martyred sigh:  Fine.  Write a whole post about farts.  How about a page of euphemisms?  I got a million of ‘em!  Blow the butt trumpet, strangle the stank monkey, play the colonic calliope, roast your Jockeys…”

Me, snickering in spite of myself:  Well… I dunno…

Muse:  …Do the one-cheek sneak; drop a barking spider; hit 7.4 on the Rectum scale; a turd honking for the right of way…

Me, stifling giggles:  Stop!  I’ve been trying to behave lately.

Muse:  You?  Behave?!?  As if.  How about this:  “Shit a brick and fart a crowbar”.  Or hey; how about some definitions?  Like “Fartabout”:  Walking away from everybody to ease out a fart so nobody notices.  It’s like a walkabout, only you’re farting…

Me:  There’s already a word for walking around and spreading the stink.  It’s called ‘cropdusting’.

Muse, huffily:  Well, fine, you obviously don’t need me, then. *slams the door in my face*

Me:  Wait, I didn’t mean it that way! *knock, knock*  C’mon, open up!  I need you, really I do.

Muse:  Get lost!

Me:  *sigh*

So there you have it.  I would have prepared a literary masterpiece for today, but my Muse had a bad case of brain flatulence.

Everybody else gets the classy chick with rainbows and perfect hair.  I get this:

Diane’s Muse

So how was your week?

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Filed under Cartoons, Humour, Writing

The Bee’s Knees

The other day I was working on Book 13 when I wrote “I made a beeline for the door”.  Then I stopped and stared into space as my brain took an unexpected detour.

Why does ‘make a beeline’ mean ‘to go quickly and directly to a destination’?  Have you seen how bees fly?  They look like little fuzzy drunks staggering home after a night on the town.

If I had actually ‘made a beeline’, I’d have wandered aimlessly around the room, made several erratic circles under a table and around a couple of chairs, gotten into a stranger’s face for no apparent reason, caromed off the window sixteen times before figuring out that I couldn’t exit through it, and at last arrived at the doorway; where I’d need three tries to make it through an opening several hundred times larger than myself.

Whoever invented all these sayings about bees had obviously never watched bees for long.  Take ‘busy as a bee’, for example.  Sometimes they’re busy, like these guys working away at my sunflowers:

Busy bees

But one summer morning I went out to water my garden, and eight of them were curled up together snoozing in a squash blossom.  They weren’t any too eager to get up and start working – after the first spray of cold water they struggled groggily out of the blossom, stumbling over each other like a bunch of hungover teenagers after an all-night party and buzzing complaints as they hauled themselves into the sky.  Then they staggered as far as the next flower before plopping down to sleep the day away.  So much for ‘busy’.

Lazy bees

And let’s consider the time-honoured tradition of ‘talking to your children about the birds and the bees’.  Say what?

Neither birds nor bees have sex like humans.  Most birds only have one multi-purpose opening for sending or receiving semen as well as for taking a dump and laying eggs.  And most species aren’t too fussy about fidelity.

And bees?  Yikes!  Male bees follow a queen and take turns mating with her in flight.  When the deed is done the male bee’s penis gets ripped off, disemboweling and killing him in the process.  Unfazed, the next male in line pulls the leftover penis out of the queen’s body and re-enacts the whole grisly scenario.  Then the next male takes over, and the next.

So if we actually discussed ‘the birds and the bees’ with our kids, we’d be talking about promiscuous sex and snuff orgies.  Try explaining that at the next parent-teacher meeting.

‘The bee’s knees’ is another expression that makes me wonder.  Over the years it’s been used to indicate ‘something nonexistent’, ‘something very small’, and ‘something excellent’.  Apparently we aren’t too sure about the bee’s knees, either.

So if I should ever mention that I intend to make a beeline for bed to get as busy as a bee, it could mean staggering dozily away to sleep for hours; or zipping straight to bed for something a little more… *ahem* …interesting.  (Or downright disturbing.)

But what the heck; having a bit of mystery in one’s life is the bee’s knees, don’t you think?

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Filed under Humour, Life