Teaching high school freshman for 7 years has taught me that kids haven’t heard, much less understand, idioms these days. Every time I say one, they stare at me like I just spoke a foreign language…and I feel a lot older than I really am.
One year I made the mistake of saying “kill 2 birds with 1 stone.” They were jokingly shocked at how “violent” I was. They didn’t get it at all.
Several have never heard of “stuck between a rock and a hard place.” Well, a lot more now thanks to The Simpsons movie.
Also, “on my soapbox” is one I’ve said probably every year, and every year I have to explain what it means.
I’m sure there are many others I just can’t think of off the top of my head. But this got me thinking…what if cliches just eventually went away? I mean, so many of them we, or at least younger people, don’t even know where they come from anyway. Will we eventually not use them altogether?
Then that got me thinking of other things, like gestures, that in the future will become obsolete and, although we may still do them, we won’t know why.
For instance, you know the whole circular, rolling-down-the-window motion we do to get people to “roll down” the window of their car? Who even rolls down their window like that now? We push a button. Either that motion will go away entirely, or we’ll do it but not know why.
Also, the pointing to your wrist to indicate you want the time. Same thing. Who wears watches anymore? We all look at our cell phones, right? Eventually, won’t that motion become something of which nobody knows the origin? We may do it but wonder to ourselves, why the heck am I pointing to my wrist to get the time? That is unless our cell phones end up becoming something we strap to our wrists…in which case it will come full circle and make total sense again.