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too smart for their own good

I hate those types that are smart, but overly literal. I remember getting into an argument with another kid when I was much younger. I think we were both in 1st grade.

I caught “Fred” (not his real name; “John” was his real name) in what I believed to be a factual lapse, so I put him on notice.

“Liar liar pants on fire.”

“No they’re not,” intoned Fred. Notice how clever he was, ignoring the lying bit & going right to the second part of the idiom.

“It’s an expression. You’re still a liar.”

“Well, it’s a very stupid expression. My pants are clearly not on fire. You just did it so you could rhyme, and as a pathetic attempt at conformity by using an old, tired saw. Why couldn’t you pick another word besides “fire”.”

“Ok”, I said, starting to get inspired. “What do you expect me to say? You have a large spare tire?” (He was a bit chubby.) “You’re a member of the Vienna Boy’s Choir? That’s kind of a stretch, in more ways than one, and breaks the cadence. How about ‘it’s so dire?’ That’s a little better. What else rhymes? Mire? Pyre? Sire? Wire? Gyre? Shire? I think I’ll stick with fire.”

“Well, it still doesn’t make sense.”

So I set his pants on fire. He never questioned my choice of idiom ever again…

Postscript: the above image wasn’t in the original post from 2008, as it comes from Unsplash which wasn’t a thing back in 2008. Or maybe it was, but I just wasn’t aware of it. Nevertheless, the above image was added later. Much later. As in January 2023.

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