by Terry Thornton
Yesterday when I heard that the young and inexperienced President of the United States had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, my immediate thought was, "Yeah, right, when pigs fly."
And I continued thinking, where did that phrase come from? A quick search of Wikipedia gave me some additional food for thought. I could have thought, when confronted with the news of the absurd award, any of the following idioms based upon the language of the common man from around the world:
"Yeah, when cows fly."
"Yeah, when frogs grow hair."
"Yeah, when hens have teeth."
"Yeah, when snakes smoke."
"Yeah, when crawfish whistles on the mountain."
"Yeah, when donkeys fly."
Or as Wayne's World might have put it, "Yeah, when monkeys fly out of my butt."
And when I read the following exchange adapted from Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland I thought, "Yeah, I've a right to think" although it seems that others seems to think otherwise . . .
Them: "Thinking again?"
Me: "I've a right to think."
Them: "Just about as much right as pigs have to fly."
Idioms such as "when pigs fly" are adynata --- hyperbole which serve to ridicule, confuse, bemuse, or simply to point out the impossible. Read "when pigs fly" and "adynata" at Wiki --- and you might even read more about Wayne's World modern adynata. But somehow I didn't think of monkeys when I heard the news --- I thought of flying pigs.
Big, fat flying pigs with Nobel peace prizes hanging from them during times of little peace and of hot and cold climates and of kissing terrorists.
Go figure --- thinking is dangerous. Hootie hoo . . .
Flying pig image from Wikimedia Commons.