[lit-ideas] Tooting one's own horn -- trivial -- please ignore

  • From: "Lawrence Helm" <lawrencehelm@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 11 Feb 2010 15:43:13 -0800

Eric,

I have spent several moments with your very interesting mixed-metaphor.   I
realize that one does say that one needs to constantly practice or else one
will "get rusty," and a horn player might well say, "I must practice,
practice, practice, or else I will get rusty."  "Rusty" being a metaphor for
not as good as I once was --  prone to error - perhaps forgetful of certain
aspects of horn-tooting - Perhaps musical phrases forgotten - that sort of
thing.   But "tooting one's own horn" is also a metaphor for bragging.
Thus, it is possible to read your statement, "we have to [brag" or else we
will get [become ineffective at bragging].  

Now, moving on to what would unmix this metaphor, you might have said, "we
have to toot our horns or we forget how to pucker."   Or you might have
said, "we must keep our self-laudation well oiled or else it will get
rusty."

Lawrence

-----Original Message-----
From: lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]
On Behalf Of Eric Yost
Sent: Thursday, February 11, 2010 2:32 PM
To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: on not knowing one's impact on the world

On 2/11/2010 9:10 AM, Mike Geary wrote:
> Thank you for this opportunity to toot my own
> horn, Eric.


All those stories are great. We have to toot our 
horns or we get rusty.

This unknown ripple of our lives, this unexpected 
consequence, speaks to a larger point, effects 
beyond our recognized actions. Even someone who 
believes their life has come to naught may have 
profoundly influenced the world. A passing glance, 
some marginalia scribbled in a book, forgotten 
automatic acts of kindness or cruelty, having been 
chosen for a job over another, living in a 
particular apartment, a courtesy or discourtesy on 
the highway, dropping a newspaper on a park bench, 
trivia beyond our imaginations -- may have set up 
a changed world. All this in a Newtonian view, not 
yet thinking of the butterfly wings of quantum 
change.

All the best,
Eric
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