Peeling the English onion: The best countries to find forbidden fruit are banana republics

Jan 25, 2020 | 3 comments

When the English language gives you lemons, you can make lemonade. I’ve written extensively about this here and here so trust me, there’s always a cherry on top.

Deciphering mixed metaphors in English is like comparing apples and oranges except that the apple never falls far from the tree, even when a bad one ruins the barrel.

You may have heard through the grapevine that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. This is true unless one of you is rotten to the core.

Let’s say you’ve polished enough apples and are finally cherry-picked to be the top banana on a plum assignment. Life is a bowl of cherries. Things are all peaches and cream, as American as apple pie until some cabbage head goes bananas and upsets the apple cart. My advice: try to stay cool as a cucumber even if you’ve been kicked in the nuts and beaten to a pulp. Trees don’t grow to the sky so just act like you don’t give a fig.

It sounds bananas, but the best countries to find forbidden fruit are banana republics. If you’re lucky enough to fall for a real tomato, you should ask for a date and make her the apple of your eye. She may be a real peach, but there’s no need for sour grapes if she won’t or cantaloupe. The two of you can always hang like two peas in a pod, especially if she’s a kiwi carrot top.

It may sound like small potatoes but the real pickle with English expressions is that it’s easier to spill the beans than peel the onion. Peppering your conversation with slang can sound corny. If someone tosses you a hot potato it may be best to extend an olive branch. It may not amount to a hill of beans, but only a pea-brain wouldn’t prefer the carrot to the stick.

Persevere! Don’t peel out early. Learning English can feel like navigating through fog as thick as pea soup. There will be times where you feel like you a vegetable who doesn’t know beans. Resist the temptation to become a couch potato! Stick with it and your efforts will eventually bear fruit.

Enjoy the journey. After all, these are your salad days.

R.S. Gompertz is a native of Southern California who currently lives and writes in Seattle. He recently completed a tour of Mexico and South America during which he spent several weeks in Cuenca, to which he hopes, someday, to return to live. His most recent book, “Life’s Big Zoo,” is available on Amazon. For more information about his life, work and travels, click here.


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