Friday, January 27, 2006

Sick as a Dog

A Frivolous Phraseology Post

I'm home today, blowing my nose every five minutes, throat like a rain gutter, with a dull ache in my jaw that is either my wisdom teeth reallocating their living space or the result of my going head-to-head with an opposing player when I played rugby last Sunday.

I'm sitting back now, appreciating the diversity of that last sentence. It's confusing, it's awful, I hope you were able to get through it. But I'm too attached to it now to change it.

I've been wondering about the traditional phrase, 'sick as a dog.' I'’m not sure I get it. Other phrases seem like they would be more appropriate to describe my condition. In fact, most of the dogs I have known were remarkably healthy.

Why not 'sick as an aquarium fish?' Or '“sick as a water turtle?' It seems like aquarium fish are not especially predisposed to life. They'’re just as likely to be floating upside down as right side up when you turn on the light in the morning. Water turtles are similar. They're ridiculously picky about what they eat, and seem very willing to become dormant and taciturn if you don't feed them just what they want.

If we expand the parameters outside the traditional pet' sector, why not 'sick as a seal?' They always seem to have wet, runny noses. Or (gross!) 'sick as a slug?'” If facsimile is what we're after, it seems like honesty would bring us here.

Anyway. Now that I'’ve complained for a little while, I'm going to continue beating up Bertrand Russell'’s essay, "A Free Man's Worship." In the universe Russell describes, his title itself is a non sequitur. I know you're not supposed to pick on dead people, but I have to do it for class. And I'’m sick - sick as a dog. Therefore, 'sicking' myself on Russell should be completely permissible.

When a sick guy meets a dead guy, the sick guy wins.