Friday, May 20, 2011

The Gorilla in the Room

I know it's difficult to speak extemporaneously, especially to the media, no matter how practiced you are. Still, I can't help but chuckle when idiomatic phrases get chopped up and shuffled together like a deck of cards.

Today, Bill Ingebrigtsen, chair of the state senate's Environmental and Natural Resources Budget and Policy committee, was talking on MPR when he referred to the state's budget deficit as the "5.2 billion dollar gorilla in the room."

It would have been okay if he'd said just "5.2 billion dollar gorilla," since in that case the dollar amount would have substituted for the more usual "10-ton gorilla." But once he added "in the room," he was mixing in that darn elephant that's in the room but no one wants to talk about. I'm sure the elephant also weighs 10 tons, but that's never mentioned.

Maybe the elephant is sensitive about the subject of its weight.

Photos of a gorilla and an elephant facing each other, with the elephant thinking Get out of my room!

No comments: