No. 702

The next password is xray



There is an old saying that we have all heard at one time or another, “You are beating a dead horse.” The English language is replete with sayings like this and it’s one of the things that makes our language so interesting, yet so hard to master, for those who did not grow up in the English language culture. Are you familiar with the saying, “You are beating a dead horse?” Do you know what it means? You are beating a dead horse when you insist on talking about something that has already been discussed, a decision made and no amount of talk in the future will change the decision or the outcome.
For example, a young son, who is too young to drive wants his father to take him to a friend’s house across town, before doing his homework. His father has made a decision and the son keeps on pressing the issue. The father says, “Son, we have already discussed this and the answer is no. Regardless of how long you talk, my decision is not going to change. You are just beating a dead horse.”
However, hope springs eternal in the human breast, yet another one of those old sayings, and many people will keep on talking, hoping that the outcome will be different. At this point the one who makes the statement “You are beating a dead horse” will stick to their guns or give in and invite the same confrontation over and over again. There is certainly a lesson to be learned here.
A while back a friend sent me an e-mail that contained a story about a horse that had a little different slant and actually proves the point that you CAN beat a dead horse. The story goes, “Young Chuck moved to Montana and bought a horse from a farmer for $100. The farmer agreed to deliver the horse the next day. The next day he drove up and said, ‘Sorry, son, but I have some bad news. The horse died.’ Chuck replied, ‘Well, then just give me my money back.’ The farmer said, ‘Can’t do that. I went and spent it already.’ Chuck said, ‘OK, then just bring me the dead horse.’
The farmer asked, ‘What are you going to do with him?’ Chuck said, ‘I’m going to raffle him off.’ The farmer said, ‘You can’t raffle off a dead horse!’ Chuck said, ‘Sure I can. Watch me. I just won’t tell anybody he’s dead.’ A month later, the farmer met up with Chuck and asked, ‘What happened with that dead horse?’ Chuck said, ‘I raffled him off. I sold 500 tickets at two dollars a piece and made a net profit of $898.’The farmer said, ‘Didn’t anyone complain?’ Chuck said, ‘Just the guy who won. So I gave him his money back.’ Chuck grew up and works for the government.”
Here is yet another example of why our language is so hard to master. In the story about young Chuck, we have the term “dead horse” to be an actual physical animal, and in the saying, “You are beating a dead horse” it’s only used as a figure of speech. Depending on your point of view, I guess young Chuck’s story proves that you CAN beat a dead horse. Needless to say, our English language is very important, especially in these days when we have become more of a melting pot of the world.
Here is something written by Noah Webster, American lexicographer (1758-1843), that’s worth thinking about. “Language is the expression of ideas, and if the people of one country cannot preserve an identity of ideas, they cannot retain an identity of language.” This is why America must always have English as our official language. While some will disagree, this is just common sense. We are all Americans and we should be united with a common language.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To support literacy, buy his book: “Learning, Earning & Giving Back.”)

The next password is xray