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Tuesday, 3 April 2012

C is for Chalk and Cheese

I always squirm slightly whenever someone uses the term ‘As different as Chalk and Cheese’.

Mostly I hate these kind of phrases anyway, although I’m not really sure why, but this one in particular bugs me. To me it encourages people to instinctively look for what is different in other people rather than what is similar. I know it is merely a figure of speech and should not be taken so seriously, but as an academic exercise it is interesting to observe.

Chalk and Cheese are actually very similar. They are both soft solids, often crumbly and contain Calcium. Both also remind me of France what with cheese being something I would have low down but still existent on a Family Fortunes survey about France and Chalk as the famous White Cliffs of Dover.

For me they are also quite similar as I do not particularly like either. I don’t enjoy the taste of cheese generally (Pizza I seem to tolerate and white cheddar) and I dislike the texture of Chalk on my skin.

I try and look for similarities in everything I come across, whether that is similarities to myself or people around me (In the case of strangers) or other objects. This is of course part of the human natural process to categorise things and find patterns.

This casual throw away phrase therefore does not actually make as much sense as we may originally think.

I’m probably over thinking it slightly...

Whilst we are on the subject of annoying phrases 'Like a hot knife through butter' also bugs me. A knife is always going to find it easy to cut through butter, yet often this phrase is used when we are surprised or puzzled by something being easy. Would it not therefore make more sense to say "Like a frozen turnip through butter" as at least then that would be a surprising thing to cut through butter.

Ah well



  1. how about the phrase A volunteer is worth twenty pressed men. I know this refers to conscription etc but I find it amusing.

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  2. Chalk is fun and cheese is awesome. Used to draw on the campus sidewalks twice a year for events when I was in college though I did more directing than drawing. I am fond of cheese even though I'm a little bit allergic to dairy. Oh well.