Monthly Archives: March 2017

Pecking Order

After finalizing the formatting of my book, I took a trip to the Dominican Republic to look at something — anything — besides a computer and formatting information. Interesting country. A developing country with building everywhere and people who are open and hospitable to their guests.

I took two excursions; one to the countryside and the other to the city of Santa Domingo. While in the countryside I learned how “Pecking Order” came about. We can thank Thorleif Schjelderup-Ebbe for introducing this dominance idea in 1921.

20170323_230741His theory included that “…defiance and aggression in the hen is accomplished with the beak…roosters tend to leap and use their claws during conflict…”

Thinking about this, it kinda fits us humans, too. Women fight with their words and men fight with their fists. Amazing.

And winning a fight is what pecking order is all about. Those beaks and claws have a lot to say on who is going to “rule the roost” — be in charge of the chicken coop. Now simply transfer that idea to humans and you can see who is going to dominate the importance in the group or organization. How well you play the office politics is how high you will go in the corporation. That is the pecking order, the hierarchy. Play the game or step aside for those who want to peck each other to prove who is on top.

free-to-use-amp-public-domain-rooster-clip-art-rooster-clipart-661_800There are advantages to peck your way to the top — priority access to resources. Think about the chicken.

That “top chicken”  will have access to the best of food, the best looking hen, and once he has laid claim to his rank, few other roosters will fight him. (They know he already has won.)

In the human realm, the “top chicken” has access to more money which buys him a bigger house, a bigger car, more of any heart’s desires. And once you get to be the really big “top chicken” no one , or basically no one, will mess with trying to topple you. Competitors may try to be equal and surpass your achievements, but they do not mess with the “top chicken” who has already made it to the top. Of course, the “top chicken” will have to flaunt his weight around every so often so the other chickens do not forget who is on top.

There will always be the loser, the guy at the end, the runt of the group, but most chickens will fall someplace in the middle. Remember, there is only one “Top Chicken” in a group or organization. Always has been, always will be.

So, there you have it. What I learned in the Dominican Republic is that chickens and humans are not that far apart when it comes to the game we play to be on top. And me, I fall in the middle. I never wanted to play the pecking game. Too stressful!

Until Friday … have a great week!

 

 

 

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Big Time

Idioms — a group of words that have a meaning not deducible from the given words — like BIG TIME.

time-on-big-ben-871288272557hWmZNow, you would think the words mean exactly what is shown at left. Time that is shown as big, easily seen. “That clock is so big that we can see the time of day anywhere in town.”

But the group of words has nothing to do with time, the hours on a clock. Not really. Sure, you could equate it to “making it big time” when you think of the time it took to be an instant success (one of my professors explained to me that it takes 15 years to be an instant success — that was before you tube) and how happy you were once you made it “big time” or “in the major league”. Finally, all that time and effort paid off. You have made it to the top of your game, whether it be playing video games, selling hosiery, or discovering cures for human’s ailments. Your dreams, aspirations have seen success.

But, where did the term come from? We know it is used in the entertainment field a lot, big time. They’re in the big time now. Actually, the term is derived from the entertainment field. Before the movie industry, people went to vaudeville shows where performers entertained an audience. If you had a small amount of time on stage, you were considered “small time”, if you had more time on stage, you were “medium time”, and the big show, the one where the performer was on stage for a long period of time was “big time”. It also equated to more time on stage equals more money. So, there is a link between “big time” and money, being successful, being on a grand scale.

Now, I use this term a lot, big time, because this is one way it is used today and I like it. A lot. “I really enjoyed that movie big time”, “I need a vacation big time”, “I didn’t want to go to the dentist big time”. Notice that the term is always at the end of the sentence. That is because it is not really needed. It is used to show emphasis or exaggeration. Big time. But, I like the idiom, and I will keep using it.

Since I am still working on the book, I will simply say, until next time…big time…

Have a good one…

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At Wit’s End

It is no secret that I have been working on the interior of my book for quite some time now. Actually, I started the process in January and was progressing at a nice clip when I hit a real snag. I did not know what was wrong when I converted it to CreateSpace, but it was not working. I had tried it at least eight times by then, and I was beginning to feel either stupid or frustrated. I chose the latter over the former. Frustrated. Real frustrated.

But, I endured. I continued to format the interior over and over, trying to figure out what I was doing wrong.

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Yes, I did want to pull out my hair. I felt like this most moments of each day. What was I doing wrong. I was at my wit’s end. I had reached my limits — emotionally, intellectually — but I was not going to give in. I am bigger than a computer program.

It was my artist for the cover of the book who took me down the road for the remedy to my problem. She introduced me to a computer learning tool — Lynda.com — that taught me how to solve the formatting problems I was encountering, so in the middle of everything, I took about a week to learn everything I could. Now mind you, my frustration level is still high.Huge. I am determined to learn this.

On Wednesday, with knowledge in hand (that’s right, lots of notes) and a frustrated but clear mind, I tried it once again. After eight hours, becoming down right frazzled after the frustration could not be felt any longer, I pushed the button to convert to CreateSpace. I did it. I did it. I did it.

Now, you realize, I have written the book, I have edited it more than once, I have found another editor, readers, a cover artist, and now I formatted the book. Hey, folks, I am in business.

Before I tell you how I feel now, I need to write a bit about this idiom. Actually, it is based on the meaning of the word, and I am going to give you a tip. When you use the apostrophe (wit’s) you are speaking about the frustration level. But, when you forget to use the apostrophe (wits) you are speaking about sanity. Maybe after a long time of feeling the frustration, the wit’s end, I could lose my wits, but I’ll stick with wit’s for now.

And now that the process is over and the days on end of trying to succeed with this small task is successfully completed, I feel like….

hippopotamus-relaxing

Hey, have a great one….

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Seeing Eye to Eye

Since I wrote about “an eye for an eye” on Friday, I need to expand a bit to “seeing eye to eye”. eye-1348825358VkPBoth of these “eyes” were more relevant yesterday than today. Now, at least I hope, we do not punish by “an eye for an eye” and trying to be politically correct, very few people see “eye to eye” on anything.

The correct definition of seeing “eye to eye” is to agree about something with someone else. I would be in full agreement with that person; I would not concede (give in to) or recognize or settle upon an agreement. I would undoubtedly agree. There may be a time or an idea that I may see eye to eye, but not really. More so, I would have a liked mind with that person. I would understand that person’s stand and agree that person had some truth that corresponds with the idea I have, but to agree fully? I doubt that. Why? Because each one of us brings our own experience and knowledge to the ideas that surround us. I perceive the world different from any other person, as well, you do, too. But, because of similar backgrounds or experiences, we could have liked minds, and to not have to go into explanations, we simply say, “I see eye to eye with my boss” or “I need to find another job because I do not see eye to eye with my boss”.

Originally found in Isaiah in the Old Testament of the Bible (52:8) it states, “…together they sing for joy, for eye to eye they see the return of the Lord…” But  that does not have the same meaning as in full agreement, not even having a liked mind. Even though this quote is connected to this idiom, the translation has to do with seeing with one’s own eyes.

Interesting, huh? So what we say and mean to say may really have no background in the originality of a saying. And that is where idioms come in. Right now, seeing “eye to eye” means I agree with you without going into an explanation, or being politically correct, or trying to decipher what the words really mean. It means I agree. Not necessarily in full agreement (even though that is what the definition says), the saying is more lax. “Hey, I am eye to eye with you on that one!”

There are just so many eyes — there is an eye opener, where I have just been enlightened, or maybe I need to keep an eye on the price of a stock, where I keep the stock under my supervision, or maybe I meet someone who is pleasing to my eyes, ooohhh a pleasure to look at. And I am sure most people will see eye to eye with me on that last one — it’s always great to see someone who is easy on the eye…

Until next time…have a great one!

 

 

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Tit for Tat

As directed by my artist, I took a few days away from my publishing quest and the computer. I am feeling better. In between time, though, I decided to go to a movie (I watched The Great Wall with Matt Damon and it was good as far as legends go). Upon entering the movie house, a man came up from behind and opened the door for me. I thanked him and walked in. Once through the first door, I held open the second door for him, and he commented that I returned the favor. I wanted to say something smart, like tit for tat, but I knew that was the wrong phrase or idiom to use, so I simply said, you’re welcome.

But what about tit for tat. I hear the phrase used, and I know I have used that phrase, because let’s face it, I use a lot of idioms. A lot. So, what does it mean, exactly and where does it come?

It was first seen in 1556 when John Heywood used “tit for tat” in his parable, The Spider and the File, and it was derived from tip for tap, or blow for blow. A definite retaliation — blow for blow. Therefore, “tit for tat” has a negative connotation, because it has to do with a bad action done by someone else and you are going to do the same to that person. Tit for tat, blow by blow, an eye for an eye.

An eye for an eye is not quite the same as tit for tat. In tit for tat, you are getting even for what someone has done to you; in an eye for an eye calls for punishment. When someone does something wrong, they should be punished by having the same thing done to them. And the punishment is meant to be the exact. Such as, if you kill someone, you should be killed.

This heye-1467386502yP5ad to be the basis of a judicial system, so I researched further. Let’s go wwwaaayyy back to 1792-1750 B. C. when Hammurabi ruled in Babylonia. It was his famous legal code, lex talionis, that came to the conclusion that the punishment had to be the same. But remember, this “eye for an eye” is also in the Old Testament of the Bible — it can be found in both Exodus and Leviticus. No matter where it is found, it basically said the same, the punishment should be equal to the crime. I wonder what they did for stealing — cut off a hand?

Fast forward a few thousand years, and the British changed it a bit. The law now readeye-1348825358VkP that an eye for an eye has to do with the idea that a person’s life has a fixed value, and that value depends on his social position. So, in the days of ago my life as a middle class person would not be as valuable as a baroness. Now, add that I am a woman, and I have once again lost value. Oh, shoot, my life would not be worth much, definitely less than my brother, even though I could contribute more to society, or let’s face it, give birth to sons and daughters. Nonetheless, my life was not worth much then.

Today is a different matter, especially for those who live in the “West” such as in America and Europe where women are valued. I am not that familiar with other countries, but I do know that women are not valued in some countries.

Still, I am searching for what smart comeback I could have said to that gentleman. What about Karma, you know, what goes around comes around? No. That is not going to work either because Karma has to do with the consequences of one’s actions and eventually, you will receive what you give. Sure, there is good Karma, but I couldn’t have said, “Good Karma to you”.

And after searching for the right response, I came up with nothing more than “you’re welcome.” Maybe a little kindness and a dose of manners is all there is because I do not want a tit for a tat, and definitely not an eye for an eye, a bit of good Karma will do, but no thank you to the other Karma.

Hey, have a great weekend. Once again, I hope to be writing on Tuesday, but who knows where I will be in the publishing process.

Until then….

 

 

 

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I Missed the Boat

sailing-boatI wrote last week at the end of my blog that I would write again on Friday. I am so sorry, but I missed the boat on that one! I was so caught up in trying to format my book that I have not even looked up to see what day it is. Finally, today, my artist came over and I told her that all was well in Windows 10 but once I converted it to the PDF the pages were then messed up. I was at my wit’s end! She is helping me with the conversion.

But I do not feel that bad because I talked with a friend whose husband writes reports and he has the same problem when he converts to a PDF. I am getting there, but because I have only ate and slept formatting for a good month now and longer, I am beyond exhausted and my eyes will never be the same! So, my artist told me to take the next few days off from the computer, and she would call me by Saturday with her results. But….I really need to get back to my idiom blog (I really do enjoy writing this). So, it’s back to I Missed the Boat.

This saying is derived from England when they said (and probably still do) that they have missed the bus. I never found how the word went from bus to boat, but thinking about it, the British walk and ride buses and most Brits are there to stay. Originally,  Americans came here by boat, and even though the saying originated long after we started arriving on these main lands, we understand that our ancestors came by boat. Thinking about that even further, maybe that is why we love to cruise. Or, some of us love to cruise. That boat journey is in our DNA. It’s in mine, I know.

So, what does this phrase mean. It could literally mean that someone missed the boat, they failed to board the boat, but more so, it goes further than that. Remembering that a boat takes you on a journey, and in the beginning the journey leads to (at least) the dream of a better life, an opportunity to succeed. Therefore, sometimes when we say we missed the boat it means that we missed an opportunity to succeed. For instance, I missed the boat when I turned down a job opportunity that I thought was not a good fit for me, but it ended up being wildly successful for someone else, and I felt I missed the boat. I should have taken the opportunity.

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Now, don’t get missed the boat confused with “that ship has sailed”. Although these two phrases mean the same as a failed opportunity, the sailing ship has to do with the opportunity has passed to fulfill it one way or the other. This is when I did not have the opportunity to turn down the job offer, because I was too late to take advantage of it. (I will say, though, that “miss the boat” can be used for being too late to take advantage of an opportunity. There’s such a subtle distinction between the two phrases and when to use which.)

We also can use “miss the boat” when we are referring to someone who simply does not understand the concept or importance of an idea. This is used in a negative connotation, so this is not really one of the meaning I use. It is a derogatory statement about a person — “…he really missed the boat by his beliefs…”

Which brings me to how I used the word…to have made an error or a wrong. I was just plain wrong to not write on Friday or to say I would and then did not. I really missed the boat. And even though I have a valid excuse, I did miss the boat; it has nothing to do with my ship sailing, because it hasn’t, it’s still in dock, it’s just that I missed the boat.

Today, I will leave you with I hope to write on Friday.

Until the next time…have a great one!

 

 

 

 

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