Some phrases lose their vibrancy the farther they get from their vivid beginnings. Once upon a time, someone was darn proud to have invented the metaphor, "She's as busy as a bee," but time and use wore it out and made it into a tired old cliché.
Same fate for "stubborn as a mule." Who among us these days knows the depth of a mule's character? Without an understanding of mules, this comparison doesn't help us get a clear picture of anything.
Back in the day, however, people who knew mules hearing this would nod sagely and think, "That was one stubborn fella."
Sometimes a phrase wanders so far its origin as to be nonsensical: "avoid it like the plague," "dead as a doornail," or "three sheets to the wind"? Wha--? A person can parse them to make sense, but the expressions are fossils.
With that in mind, today's visual pun came as a fresh view (to me at least, after Uncle Mark pointed it out) of a fairly common phrase. Be the first to identify the phrase in a comment below and win a prize.
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