I recently had a crown removed from an implant, which I’ve learned isn’t easy when one doesn’t wish to release. Anyway, with my mouth open, I had a question lobbed my way and promptly executed an answer. Reality alert… when the mouth if full, it complicates verbal communication. That’s right! Forming intelligent wording around foreign objects makes it difficult for the tongue to provide adequate pronunciation. Diction is poor and therefore, makes deciphering awkward for your listener.
My granddaughter overheard my garbled reply and giggled, “That’s funny. It’s like pulling teeth, huh grandma?”
I pondered her statement, confused. And then the light bulb went off in my head.
On the way home I felt it time to gently correct the meaning of her statement. “Cindy, what do you think “it’s like pulling teeth,’ means?”
“You mean like when you were making those funny noises cause they made you talk?”
“I made those funny noises because I couldn’t talk. I had a mouth full of fingers. See, that’s why people say not to talk with your mouth full. Because nobody can understand you. And that’s what happened. I tried to talk around his fingers, but I couldn’t. It’s like when you eat something, and your mouth is full of food, you try talking around it and you mumble, spitting out some in the process. It’s gross and extremely hard to hear.”
“So how come it’s not pulling teeth cause he pulled your teeth?”
“Well, the expression, “It’s like pulling teeth,” is misleading. When you are trying to hold a conversation with someone, and you are having a hard time getting the other person to respond to you, or open up and answer your questions, the saying is, it’s like pulling teeth to get him to speak. Teeth don’t come out all that easily, and neither do his words.
Silence filled the car, which made me blessedly grateful, because I don’t think I’d explained it correctly. Actually, I felt like I was stimulating her brain cells, praying that she’d buy what I was selling. And so far, it was a big zero on the peso.
Makes one wonder what other sayings we have that say one thing and mean another? Maybe one day I’ll check into them. Or not.