Saturday, November 26, 2011

Apples & Oranges

     At our Thanksgiving table I overheard a conversation about politics. People were comparing presidential candidates. Someone said, “They’re all so different! It’s like comparing apples and oranges.”
     I’ve heard that apples and oranges reference my whole life and I just don’t get it. When I was small it was right up there with: Six of one, half dozen of another, which I didn’t understand as a kid but now makes perfect sense. Another strange one was: If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. Growing up I never saw a horse or a beggar in our neighborhood. But why has the comparison of apples and oranges become such a common term to signify two dissimilar things?
     In fact, apples and oranges have quite a few similarities. Both are round. They’re both vitamin-supplying fruits, both smell wonderful, both have peels and seeds, both are pressed for highly-valued juices. It seems to me that apples and oranges are more similar than not.
     Why don’t we change this cryptic saying to show real differences, such as: It’s like comparing apples and anvils, or oranges and bazookas? (I think I saw an A-Team episode where they fired apples from a bazooka.)
     Who invents these crazy sayings? When is it my turn?

     Did you stumble over any of these old sayings while growing up? If you’re not  three sheets to the wind from Thanksgiving celebrations, share them….


  1. As different as chalk and cheese is (or was) common in England.

  2. As different as me and my ex-wife? ;)


  3. "Three sheets to the wind" - can you explain that one to me? hahahaaa I like your bazooka one! As usual Stephen, you're such a delight to read :)

  4. I've heard of all of those sayings. I can't remember any others at the moment, but I'm sure there are many, many more.

    Have a terrific day. :)

  5. "It's like pissing up a rope"
    "It flies like a rock"

  6. Dear Michelle My Bell: Three sheets to the wind means good and drunk. The number of sheets often varies but the meaning remains the same. Hiccup!!!

  7. Yesterday I killed two birds with one stone, and got a ticket for poaching... I guess the kind of bird you're killing does matter to the saying.

  8. im not a big fan of both fruits, so they're pretty much the same to me :p
    they're both boring, familiar and always found at our fruit basket at home (my dad keeps buying them).

  9. Weird thing is that these nonsensical phrases have stuck for so long. It shows how strange (and even ignorant) people are.

    I find "a penny for your thoughts" to be incredibly insulting. At least increase that to a nickel and I'll negotiate from there.


  10. I grew up with 'If wishes were horses, beggars would ride' and 'you can always squeeze a lemon, but you can never squeeze a peach'. Okay, and a gazillion others. :)

  11. My mother has always said "Might as well! Can't dance!" and I've never known where it came from.

    Years and years ago, I met a woman who said that very same thing. I got very excited, asked where she got it, and she said, "My mother has always said it." And then we both had to laugh, because SHE didn't know where it came from either...


  12. There're a million of them, but my favorite came from my mother who would always warn me, when I was about to "go out on a limb," that I'd soon be "up a creek without a paddle."

  13. I'm way late on commenting to this post but I love, the three sheets to the wind, reference--and I agree with you about apples and oranges--apples and anvils would be much more apt in this political arena!