In the Heat of the Moment
The nice warm spring that we have been enjoying has slipped past, and in it’s wake, we are enduring the extreme heat, more typical of those dusty days of August.
But as I sit here sweating over my hot keyboard, actually, the keyboard is fine, it’s the tan I’m getting from my 27 inch monitor that has overcome the feeble efforts of my rotating fan. I have been reporting on the impact of the hot weather and it fired me up about doing my column on the hot topic of… IDIOMS OF HEAT (cue the echo chamber).
Hot off the Press. In today’s idiom-speak it means the latest news, but many years ago, about 55 of them, as a young newspaper carrier for the Vancouver Sun, I remember visiting a room in the Sun Tower, where the typesetters actually created each page of the paper by a process of “hot metal printing” where molten lead was poured into a mould to form a plate called a printing block. So the term derived from a print run that was so fresh that the paper was still hot from the lead type. It is amazing to think that in that short of time we’ve come from pouring hot lead to computer driven presses – hot progress I’d say! The only hot lead in the papers these days is that expended on the streets in the fighting over drug turf.
Hot under the collar: an apt description of many of the police and civic officials trying to end the “hot lead” gun violence. When an individual becomes frustrated or angry, their blood pressure rises. Often it is accompanied by a very red complexion as blood rushes up to the face and ears. The eyeballs may bulge and steam is often portrayed by cartoonists as blasting out from the ears. Descriptive enough?
If you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen: This is easy to understand. If a person can’t handle the pressure of the job they shouldn’t be there. It’s attributed to U.S. President Harry Truman, who used the phrase frequently in the 1940’s. I can relate to that when I graduated from paperboy to working at the White Spot. The kitchen, particularly in summer, could be a very warm place and when those fabled cars of the sixties would fill the car lots every night, it became frantic handling all the orders. I opted instead to be a carhop where it was cooler, you got tips and you could show off for the girls. Oh, and of course, efficiently deliver those Chicken Pickins and Triple-O burgers.
Dropped like a hot potato: Anyone who has ever roasted potatoes in a bon fire or an oven knows all to well the juggling act that ensues when picking up a spud that’s a little too hot to handle. The analogy can apply to legal cases, contracts, assignments, and for me, occasionally a tray full of milkshakes and fries when the metal end of the tray would snag a radio antenna. Oh well, there went that tip!
So until next week, keep the home fires burning (but not literally)!