Messing with people’s minds

I guess I’m sadistic because I love messing with people’s minds by saying the last thing they expect to hear. This began as a nasty habit: if you’re somewhat psychic, you can “read” a person who’s been surprised by an unsuspected comment, including my favourite of twisting a common cliché into something that either makes no sense or means something quite different than the original version. Now I do it for fun.

For example, “balls to the wall” becomes “balls to the grindstone.”

“Barking up the wrong tree” becomes “barking down the wrong hole.”

“Bated breath” becomes “baited breath.” (Not as good as it could be since a lot of people don’t know the difference.)

The thing is, you can’t smile when you say such things in conversation or write”LOL” after them in print. That ruins the impact. You have to sound sincere as though you don’t know you’re saying something illogical or socially incorrect. But, continuing on with more examples you can use without charge:

“Been there, done that” becomes “never been there, never done that” whether or not you got the tee shirt.

“Better safe than sorry” becomes “better sorry than safe.”

You get the idea, right. If you do, people will consider you either flat stupid or a trickster. I prefer being seen as a trickster because, without shame, that’s my approach to life.

“Cut the mustard” becomes “cut the horseradish.”

“Davy Jones locket” becomes “Davy Jones outhouse.”

“Different kettle of fish” becomes a kettle of something off the wall like a kettle or okra.

Of course, twisting things up like this is dangerous because cops, thugs, and professors just don’t like it. Their brains get out of joint.

–Malcolm

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