English, the Asylum for the Verbally Insane
We take English for granted. But consider the paradoxes: quicksand works slowly, boxing rings are square, and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.
And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth beeth? One goose, two geese. So one moose, two meese? One index, two indices?
Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend, that you comb through the annals of history but not a single annal? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?
There's no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat.
If teachers taught, why didn't preacher praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? If you wrote a letter, perhaps you bote your tongue?
Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell? Park on driveways and drive on parkways?
How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? How can overlook and oversee be opposites, while quite a lot and quite a few are alike? How can the weather be hot as hell one day and cold as hell another?
How you noticed that we talk about certain things only when they are absent? Have you ever seen a horseful carriage or a strapful gown? Met a sung hero or experienced requited love?
Have you ever run into someone who was combobulated, gruntled, ruly or peccable? And where are all those people who ARE spring chickens or who would ACTUALLY hurt a fly?
You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which an alarm clock goes off by going on.
English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race (which, of course, isn't a race at all). That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible. And why, when I wind up my watch, I start it, but when I wind up this essay, I end it!
arachnoleptic fit (n.) The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.
Beelzebug (n.) Satan in the form of a mosquito that gets into your bedroom at 3 in the morning and cannot be cast out.
bozone (n.) Invisible gas surrounding stupid people that prevents intelligent ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.
decaflon (n.) The gruelling event of getting through the day consuming only decaffeinated coffee.
dopelar effect (n.) The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when you come at them rapidly.
extraterrestaurant (n.) An eating establishment that experiments on you with strange new dishes.
Grantartica (n.) The cold, isolated place where arts companies (and scientists) without funding dwell.
kinstirpation (n.) A painful inability to move relatives who come to visit.
lullabuoy (n.) An idea that keeps floating into your head and prevents you from drifting off to sleep.
if anyone knows the origin of these, send it to me and I will give credit here