Animals are a big part of human life. We love our pets. We go to zoos to observe them. We ride horses. We get milk and cheese from cows. And, of course, we make yummy dishes out of them. They are interwoven into our society. They have even become part of our everyday conversation as we use idioms to make a point or provide a description. I often wonder what the animals would be thinking if they could understand what we were saying. They may not be too happy.
I’m so hungry I could eat a horse. Suddenly, the horse’s ears perk up. “Excuse me. You did not just say horse? I know you didn’t say horse. Everyone knows we do not eat the horse. The pig, the lamb, the steer that’s all-fair game, but the horse, no, no, no, the horse is off limits. You can ride us, race us, have us pull a wagon, we’re not some one-trick pony, but I draw the line at eating. That’s not in my wheelhouse. So, let’s just leave the horse out of any dinner conversation. Can we do that? And another thing, we don’t approve of you associating us with people who goof off. No more ‘horsing around’ stuff. The correct term is ‘monkeying around.’ That makes a lot more sense. We work our asses off. Also, this deranged ‘beating a dead horse’ reference. Not good. If we’re dead, leave us be. We made your life easier while we lived, which is probably what killed us. So how ‘bout you just hold your horses on that little ditty. And I’ll end with this. If I’m thirsty and you lead me to water, I will drink it. Sorry to burst your bubble.”
A wolf in sheep’s clothing. “Look, I’m a ferocious wolf. I kill things for a living. I’m very mean and very intimidating. You will never, and I mean never catch me dressing up as a sheep. First of all, I don’t look good in wool. Secondly, I’m a pack animal which means there’s always other wolves around me. The last thing I’m gonna do is dress up as a sheep. They would laugh at me. Shun me. I’d be the black sheep of the pack or, even worse, mistake me for a real sheep and eat me. So, keep wolves out of your conversation. There’s no validity to a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It just doesn’t happen.”
It’s a dog-eat-dog world. “How in God’s name did we get pulled into this? One day we’re man’s best friend than the next we’re chowing each other. You’re making canines out to be bi-polar. Sure, we’ll bark at each other, play with each other, a little humping, some butt sniffing. Yeah, okay, we’re not saying everything we do is socially acceptable but it’s a far cry from us eating each other. That some sick stuff. You’re the ones who have Jeffrey Dahmer in your human gene pool. Don’t project your weird fetishes on us dogs. We’re good with the dry food, cans and bones. We don’t feel a need to eat each other.
Kill two birds with one stone. Upon hearing this a bird must be thinking, “I do not like the sound of that. Birds and killing in the same sentence. Now why on earth would you wanna kill a bird, two for that matter. We sing. We pollenate plants. We don’t want any trouble. Leave us birds out of your homicidal proclivities. You’ve already killed the goose with golden egg. Isn’t that enough? If I even see you pick up a rock, I will not be a sitting duck. I will fly the coup and drop a little present on you. Got that, chief. What’s good for goose is good for the gander.”
Putting lipstick on a pig. I can guarantee that the pig does not like this saying. “You did not just go there. I know exactly what you’re implying here. You’re saying we’re ugly, and not just ugly, but so ugly that even lipstick won’t do anything to change that. That’s very rude. I guess you were never taught if you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say it. I guess the pig is low man on the totem pole. We’re the ugly ducklings. Every human flaw is associated with us. You look like a pig. You eat like a pig. You smell like a pig. Clean up that pigsty. Get off our backs. We’re like the black sheeps of the animal kingdom. You sure as hell don’t have a problem with us when you’re frying up that bacon or stuffing a pork sandwich into your mouth. And, while I’m on a roll, cast pearl before a swine? What’s this all about? Pearls too good for the pigs? We can wear the lipstick but not the pearls? Wow, you all have some nerve. Do I think you’ll ever stop these unflattering, distasteful comments associated to us? Sure. When pigs fly.”
The elephant in the room. “What are you saying here? Are you alluding to my size? My weight, by chance? That I’m… fat. Say it. It just so happens that I happen to be big-boned. That’s the way large mammals are. And, by the way, I’m comfortable with who I am. I like when I’m in a room and people notice me. I have nothing to hide. It’s a helluva lot better than being the mouse in the room where no one knows you’re even there. I’m a hit at parties. You know why? ‘Cause people notice me. So don’t say ‘the elephant in the room’ like it’s a bad thing. Everybody likes to be noticed. I’m an attractive beast with a cute, wavy trunk. It’s not like I’m the 800-pound gorilla in the room.”
I smell a rat. “So, what if you do? You say that like it’s a bad thing, like we smell like a pig. I’m sure every rat has a different smell to them. Some have a dumpster odor. Some have a sewer fragrance. Others might have a garbage scent. What’s it to you? You shouldn’t generalize. And, for the record, that cologne you’re wearing is no day at the beach for me either. And why do you use the term ‘ratting someone out?’ We always keep our mouth shut. You never see us squeal like a pig. We ain’t stupid. Snitches get stitches. You rat-face bastard. You know it’s not easy on us. It’s a frickin’ rat race out there.”
The cat is out of the bag. “It better be the hell out of the bag. Who puts a cat in a bag? Are you demented? Those are signs of a future serial killer. We like a little cat nip, a squeaky toy, a few treats but this bag thing, no, that’s not our bag. Get it? Please, I would appreciate it if you would stop using this saying. People get ideas and, before you know it, there’s bags of cats everywhere. And what if people forget to let the cat of the bag? Answer me. Cat got your tongue? And, let me throw this one in that tends to be bantered around quite a bit. There’s more than one way to skin a cat. Are you kidding me? Cat skinning? Once again, we’re treading in serial killer territory. Maybe you’re just planning on making a Maine Coon hat in hopes of being the talk of the town? You people are sick. Just so you know, that thing about cats having nine lives, it’s an old wive’s tale. Just like you, we got one. So go skin a potato instead. And I’m sick and tired of the ‘look what the cat dragged in line.’ We bring you something nice like a mouse or lizard and somehow it becomes a bad thing. Wow, talk about looking a gift horse in the mouth. Sorry if I sound like I’m the cat’s meow.”
A leopard can’t change its spots. “Yeah, so what? We never said we could. And why would we? It just so happens we like are spots. The more spots the better. It beats stripes. Nobody looks good in stripes. That’s why we eat the zebras. Zebras don’t eat us, do they? Besides, stripes make you look fat. You stick out like the elephant in the room or an 800-pound gorilla.
Blind as a bat. The bats huddle together and begin murmuring in squeaky voices amongst themselves. Finally, they all look up and say, “Yeah, we got nothing.”
Maybe it’s best that the animals can’t understand us. They might not be too happy with us injecting them into our everyday vernacular. An irritated hamster may not be a big deal but the last thing you want is a pissed off lion or wolf. That’s how people get hurt. I was actually hoping to weasel out of doing this article but I’m not a sly fox. That’s what a snake would do. Plus, I know I’d be in the doghouse with my readers. Besides, this is one of my cash cows and I just can’t stop writing cold turkey. Well, that’s my swan song. I hope you enjoyed it.