Saturday, June 26, 2010
The Carefule Use of Cliches
They say that one bird in the hand is worth two in the nest.
But, how does one really know that? Put a bird in the hand and prove it to them and have two in the nest and come to your own conclusion!
Well, I never really knew about birds in hands. In fact my only experience regarding birds in my hands goes waaay back to my childhood, when my aunt had a parakeet who I would try to get to sit on my finger. But the poultry never seemed to want to get off his swing to come sit on my enticing index finger. I was so repulsive to him that he would rather stay in a cage, instead of coming out into the open on the comfort of my finger. Either that or I was some giant piece of uncoolness to be ignored and scoffed at.
However, finally, after years and years of waiting to have a bird in my hand, I had my chance. It was in a park in Buenos Aires and there were people feeding the birds. And by feeding the birds, I mean right out of their hands. So I sheepishly asked if I could have some of their unpopped popcorn to feed the birds with. They magnanimously handed over their bag. After all, the purpose of locals is to give tourists new experiences with birds, right?
Well, the pigeons arrived. I became so alarmed at the presence of five pigeons on my arms that I threw the bird seed on the ground and shrieked in terror. I even danced a jig in the name of "fru-eek-ing ooout!
At this point, I felt quite silly. After all, I had asked some strangers for their birdseed and I wasn't even using it. Instead, I threw it on the ground like a three year old who is expert in the art of tantrum throwing. So, I knew I needed to put on my big girl panties and just do it. At least for the sake of my tarnished image. So, I took a deep breath and picked up the bag of seeds. The birds followed me in a swarm. This was odd for me because I am used to being a revolting mammal in the minds of birds.
I tartly sat down on the park bench and prepared myself for the impending coniption, but I just had to do it. I opened up the bag of seed and waited for the birds to come back. And come back they did. I had a bird on my head, making a nest in my mass of blonde hair. I had pigeons on my shoulders and birds flying all around me. Not to mentioned the six of seven birds on my arms all trying to get at the birdseed. I hyperventilated and enjoyed the frightening pleasantry--the little talons on my arms, the flapping wings, the beaks pecking at my palm and the sheer amount of pigeons around me.
So, back to the cliche of one bird in the hand being worth two in the nest. Well, after my experimentation, I've realized that it all depends on your perspective. If your head happens to be their nest, then the cliche is rather defunct. What about having fifteen birds on your torso and one hundred around you at your feet? Did the cliche writers ever think of THAT? Didn't think so!
Next time you plan on using that cliche, please consider your audience, you might need to say instead: "fifteen birds on your torso is worth one hundred surrounding your feet." Because their nest may be your head and you might have more than just one measly bird in the hand.