The Closet Moderate: On Language (II)

Thursday, December 03, 2009

On Language (II)

Low-hanging fruit

1. Goals that are easily achievable and don't require a lot of effort.

I don't know about you, but whenever I hear this phrase it seems to carry a mild stigma. It's as if reaching for ripe, succulent fruits within easy reach is some how a demeaning activity for modern humans. I think it's worth noting that when no less a pantheon than the Gods of Olympus wanted to punish Tantalus for either trying to feed his dismembered son to them or sharing divine ambrosia with other mortals (accounts vary), they rewarded his culinary impertinence by banishing him to a place where low-hanging fruit was perpetually just out of reach. From his fate we get the verb "to tantalize," a verb that's frequently used by the same wordy folks who disdain the very idea of easy food.

Anthropologically speaking, any Homo Erectus who was too good for low-hanging fruit got his balls chewed off by a leopard that wasn't as picky. So the next time you make a fat joke about your fat friend and somebody throws that "low-hanging fruit" shit in your face, remember this: you're an heir to a proud human tradition. They're going to be eaten by lions.

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