So Easy an Idiom Could Do It

Computer networks have been crashing left and right the past few days, grounding airplanes, disrupting Wall Street, and totally blacking out every other word in Hilary Clinton’s personal emails. Fears of hackers and cyber attacks have people pointing fingers and placing the blame on everything from same-sex marriage to the Confederate flag.

I hate to burst your iCloud, but these problems were not caused by a Supreme Court ruling or a piece of striped cloth. The epicenter of confusion began in Havertown, PA with the purchase of a new laptop by one Perry Block. Within hours, Mr. Block had spilled coffee on the keyboard, downloaded malicious malware, and busted the screen. Hence setting off a chain of events that has crashed servers and destroyed corporations around the globe.  Read the full scoop at PC Calamity Times Three.

If you’re new to Friday Flash Fiction, the PC Guru who successfully posts new photo prompts each week is Billie “Gatemouth” Wisoff-Fields.  If you’d like to participate in this exercise of madness, head over to her blog for step-by-step instructions. To view the FFF  Hollywood Squares Authors Block click here.

copyright - Stephen Baum
copyright – Stephen Baum

Ian was eleven when his parents moved to the not-so-deep South. His anxiety about fitting in and making friends was put to rest during his first few days at school.

The children were friendly and accepting. His biggest hurdle was one he didn’t expect—the language. No one spoke plain English. Every sentence was a series of phrases, difficult to decipher, and unrelated to the subject.

“Sometimes I feel like a square hole in a round peg,” he told his mum.

“I understand,” sighed Mum. “Your poor father feels like a fox guarding the cathouse when managing the secretarial pool.”


49 Comments on “So Easy an Idiom Could Do It

  1. I love the names you cook up for Rochelle. And she is a friend …I don’t want to imagine what you’d come up for a foe.

    I’m trying to visualize a fox guarding a cat-house…. interesting image 🙂


  2. Dear Ian,

    Speaking of cats, sometimes I feel like I herd them for the fanciful fun of Friday Fictioneers. Sometimes I feel like my workplace is made of up of ESL and they were all born in this country. I seen it coming I knew you was here. Could I ax you a question? I shoulda did it. And this is normal, everyday speech patterns of many of my coworkers. One day a manager said it was good that I was icing cupcakes for a certain display because “them are faster.” And this is not fiction. There got that off my chest for now.
    Oh, your story…well, hang in there Ian, you won’t be a square hole in a round peg forever. 😉




    • Dear Billie,
      I appear to have hit the mother lode at the idiom mine. Everyone can relate. What gets me is the fractured idioms. I’ve heard people say I’ve got a bargain (instead of bone) to pick with you. Also, I’d been looking for a place to use the fox guarding the cathouse phrase for a long time. I call it the Bill Clinton idiom.



  3. This exhausted northerner should read this post ten more times to get it, Russell, but I loved the pithy title, and I was not trying to say pissy with a lisp


  4. ROFL! I have seen “I seen it” more times this week than in my entire life. I cringe, resembling Bugs Bunny in the Jekyll and Hyde episode. Aw, man. I never even suspected Perry as the culprit crashing the internet. I’d better go check on him, unless he’s already in the witness protection program. Have a wonderful weekend!


    • I remember that episode. Connie and I were bemoaning the death of Saturday morning cartoons last weekend. It’s even hard to find the good ones on Cartoon Network.

      Yes, who would have thought one formerly cute Jewish man could cause so much trouble?


      • Our son-in-law found the complete set of Looney Tunes on Blu-ray. Our grandchildren are fully educated!


  5. Hilarious, Russell. I was a long-distance phone operator for a while and can translate any distortion of the English language, even some from the deep south. Being raised in North Carolina, my kids speak perfect English, but can also speak the youth dialect. One of the phone operators was told “not” to say “Yo” to any of the customers after he was monitored doing so. Well done yet again. 😀 — Suzanne


  6. I tried to manoeuvre my auspices to include the typing pool, early in my career. Never managed it though: sigh.
    Good stuff Russell.


  7. Idioms are both my favorite and least favorite things about language. It fascinates me to learn what familiar phrases do and do not translate across cultures.

    All my best,


  8. Square hole in a round peg. Ha! You’re so very clever, Russell. This is excellent. I’m not surprised it’s all Perry’s fault! Of course it is!!


  9. Poor little IAn – finding himself in a school where everyone’s out of step except him. One can’t help but feel for him 🙂


  10. You are (are is italicized) a genius, Russell.

    A wise man once said, “Stupid is as plain as the nose my face.” Of course, that man also told me, “Life is like a box of chocolates; you gotta pinch the bottoms to find one you like.”


  11. I can relate to poor Ian, I was thrown into an area with a completely different dialect and way of speaking when I was six. The fox guarding a cat house is a funny picture, an interesting workplace for dad–as long as mum is cool with it. Very enjoyable read.


  12. Somehow I knew all my tech problems were Perry’s fault! Dang…

    This happens to be one of my favorites of yours, Russell. There is such a sweetness to this, along with your signature humor. It’s different from your usual however, and makes me wonder how many other lovely gems you have hidden! This one is really great!


    • Thanks for the high praise. Your sweet words are like soft candies being mashed between the gums of a toothless man (or something like that).

      You should read some of my longer stories. They’d make you giggle too.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I am so behind in my FF reading, I am just getting to this one and learning about all the horrible things that are my fault. I thought the only horrible things that are my fault had to do with heavy breathing. But thanks, Russell, for popularizing what an idiot I am; that story is 100% true and the PC is not yet 6 months old. I’m just waiting for the next screw-up which will probably involve drowning the computer in Atlantic City. Great funny writing, a always!


    • I hated to throw you under the bus that way, but thought everyone should read your piece on PC Calamity so they’d know what NOT to do to a laptop.


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