Figuratively Speaking Friday

Houston, We Have a Problem

Unexpected, unplanned messes have a profoundly disturbing effect on us. It’s part of what it means to be human that we rarely invite surprises. OK, if we receive a gift or a visit, we’re glad, but face it, there are a few minutes when we’re wondering … worrying … what’s in the box or behind the door.

That’s why we have developed such a rich lexicon to describe mishaps.

SNAFU. Love this word? Ever wonder what it means? Snafu means “a confused or chaotic mess.” It is an acronym, and since this is a family blog, I’ll use the G-rated version: Situation normal, all fouled up.

BUG. This word, in addition to its meanings of “to annoy” and “to record secretly” also means an error in a computer program or system.

The anecdotal story says a true bug was found in an early computational device, but it may have been used as early as Charles Babbage’s machine.

Today it’s great to use whenever something doesn’t work. We say there’s a bug. We also have “fly in the ointment,” which usually refers to a bug in our plans.

Bug is another great term for illness or germ.

Some other terms for problems

— In a pickle

— At the end of one’s rope

— In a crunch

— In a jam

— In hot water

This word is a personal favorite. When I’m frustrated or angry, it gives such satisfaction to linger over the syllables of this word, with its juicy consonants. That sinkhole in the yard is a real vexation.

In the week ahead, I wish you smooth sailing, few vexations or bugs and above all else, no snafus.

Image by From the Heart Tutorials

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