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Madder than a wet hen

Maggie Oldham | Monday, November 8, 2004

Upon arriving in South Bend, the first thing college freshmen discuss is the different dialects heard around campus. However by sophomore year, arguing over the correct term for a carbonated beverage is like beating a dead horse. Regional dialectal differences fall by the wayside.

Although my friends no longer notice my “accent,” there are certain phrases I use that evoke a “huh?” from even my closest friends. These phrases are unique and powerful. They define life moments, both simple and complex, spoken by good ol’ Mom and Dad, and now spoken by me. These phrases have serious meanings and when used in the proper context, put sophisticated words into one’s mouth when one is searching for the perfect expression. I will now define and clarify these complex axioms.

Madder than a wet hen. A thoughtfully complex metaphor describing someone who is raging mad. When hens are wet, they are mad. In fact, they are livid. Use this phrase to express the intensity of another’s anger. For example, when “Drinker Dave” outfoxed Officer “Bob” at the Michigan tailgate, Officer “Bob” was madder than a wet hen.

In a rabbit stew. Another clever metaphor describing someone who is in quite the predicament and quite worked up about it. If one were a rabbit and in a stew, or if one were put in a boiling pot of rabbit stew, one would be in a stressful jam. For example, when Tennessee’s head coach realized after Saturday’s game that the Volunteers’ ranking was about to go down the toilet, Coach Fulmer was in a rabbit stew.

Making a mountain out of a molehill. This phrase means that one is overanalyzing a situation. Mountains are bigger and more important than molehills. When one makes a mountain out of a molehill, one is not looking at the triviality of the situation. For example, when a few students made a fuss about some Saint Mary’s T-shirts, they were making a mountain out of a molehill.

Six of one, half dozen of another. My friends swear only my mom and I use this phrase. This is a very good phrase meaning that two different routes are the same in length and destination. For example, when walking from the D6 parking lot to SDH, one must choose which steps of the Rockne to take. Either the north steps or the south steps will get one to SDH in the same amount of time. Therefore, it is six of one, half dozen of another.

Stinkin’ thinkin’. Another term I have learned from my mom providing great self-esteem advice. Stinkin’ thinkin’ gets one nowhere. For example, if you believe that you have not been poked on The Facebook because you are not cool, that is stinkin’ thinkin’ because, come on, if you are on The Facebook, you are cool.

And thus this portion of my philosophical dictionary concludes. I have picked up from Mom and Dad many phrases that will continue to provide life lessons and eloquence. Try one of these phrases sometime. You will be surprised at how clearly and articulately you will be able to describe a situation.