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by Doug Hawley

I wonder about figures of speech. Let’s dissect similes (unless they are metaphors – I’m a mathematician, not an English major, and I’m not even a good mathematician).  Ok, to be honest, some of these are just phrases. We could choose high, aerodynamic or sexy, but let’s do ‘easy’ now. I may analyze others later.

Easy as Pie or Piece of Cake. First, why couldn’t it be ‘easy as cake’ or a ‘piece of pie’? Both are largely interchangeable desserts. Not only that, but what is particularly easy about pie or cake? They can be messy to eat and difficult to make. I don’t get it. Toast is an indisputably easy food, but instead of saying ‘easy as toast’ or ‘slice of toast’, we say ‘he/she/it’' is toast’ meaning he/she/it is in a bad way.

Easy–peasy. What is particularly easy about peasy, and more to the point, what the hell is a peasy? Is it a small pea? It is something that is pea-like? I don’t know.

As easy as falling off a log. Well it certainly is easy, but its salient feature is pain. As a clumsy person, I’ve fallen off many logs. You can hurt yourself badly. I might have killed myself one time except for wearing a hard hat. You want pain; straddle a log that you fall on.

As easy as shooting fish in a barrel. What about ricochets? Not only is this activity dangerous, it is most certainly unethical and possible illegal in some jurisdictions. The fish don’t see it as easy; they see it as pain or death.

You may ask, what would be a good metaphor for easy. Toast has already been mentioned. Another candidate could be ‘writing a Short Humour piece’. I think that the preceding has proved my point.

The author is an irritable little old man who is deeply disturbed by people who say “He was tasked with ...”, “It is not on my radar screen” (unless he has a radar screen), or “At the end of the day” when the speaker is not referencing a time.