So I had a pre-coffee linguistic collision this morning.
On my desk is a canister of nuts (cashews, which are my favorite) that was given to me as a gift from my co-workers along with a sympathy card. A co-worker walked by, noticed the can, and stopped.
“Cashews… Mind if I take a couple?” he asked.
“Sure, help yourself.”
He reaches for the can, then pauses. “Are these salted, or plain?”
In the back of my head there is a voice constantly churning out old phrases and quips of smartass advice. The voice sounds oddly like a combination of my Mom, Foghorn Leghorn, and Colonel Sanders.
The voice hollers out “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, son,” while also helpfully pointing out that these are nuts, not a horse.
Out of my mouth comes this lucky turn of phrase: “Don’t look gift nuts in the mouth, son, just take ‘em.”
There was a very long awkward pause. The sudden stillness in the back of my head is deafening, and I think I’ve actually shocked Ma Foghorn Sanders into embarrassed silence.
I’ve learned long ago that when you stick your foot into your mouth, there are two paths you can follow. You can look at the floor and go “yeah… that sounded better in my head” and embrace the moment, or you can plow fearlessly ahead.
So I stared him down with my best poker face.
“So, ah, they’re probably salty, then,” he said.
“Probably,” I replied.