Since working on those Wacky Wordies earlier this week, I've been thinking about the common expressions and sayings that they are based on. You wonder how some of these got started, since they seem either senseless or actually completely inverted. For example, "happy as a clam"? What on earth would make someone associate joy with mollusk lifestyle?
Two more such moishe kapoir (as my Zaideh used to put it) aphorisms were pointed out to me this morning. When someone is getting a good night's slumber, we say they're "sleeping like a baby". Whoever came up with that one was obviously a confirmed bachelor. In all normal parental experience, babies wake up to nurse, be changed, be held, etc. approximately every 46 minutes, all night long.
The other one is "working like a dog", used to describe long, arduous labor. Yeah, right. Maybe this one applies in the Arctic, or possibly New Zealand. Good old American dogs, of course, spend their entire day lying on the floor or couch in blissful repose, except for brief interludes of eating, making, and chewing on the windowsills.
I would love to be working like a dog - and for that matter, sleeping like a dog. Unfortunately, lately I'm sleeping like a baby. I'll have to ask Sandy for some pointers. If I'm lucky, maybe one day I'll even be able to proclaim proudly, "it's a dog's life"!