by Mark Dorset
|Clam, Happy as a
"I wish I had made up a word that had entered the language; the most I can claim is to have dredged up a metaphor that was subsequently decapitated. It was a metaphor I found listed somewhere and had never seen in print, whereupon I used it several times in a magazine with a large circulation -- 'happy as a clam at high tide.' Thereafter I began to see it in print and to hear it in speech in the truncated form 'happy as a clam.' Thus what gave it point it had been robbed of: 'happy as a clam' is neither good sense nor good nonsense."
"As a random inquiry into the nature of idiom, I have asked hundreds of people what they supposed could make a clam happy. Very few, in fact almost none, knew of the earlier and lengthier form, yet all understood the clipped form accurately [as meaning very happy]."
"As you say so well, time is a great healer. Consequently, I'm counting heavily on it, living like a clam in the sun when there is any, and as much as possible in the open air; but even so, the country has charms only for those who are not obliged to stay there."
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|Copyright © 1996, 2001 by Eric
A Topical Guide to the Complete Peter Leroy (so far) is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents, dialogues, settings, and businesses portrayed in it are products of the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No part of this guide may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the author.
Portions of A Topical Guide to the Complete Peter Leroy (so far) were first published by Voyager, Inc., as part of The Complete Peter Leroy (so far).
The illustration at the top of the page is an adaptation of an illustration by Stewart Rouse that first appeared on the cover of the August 1931 issue of Modern Mechanics and Inventions. The boy at the controls of the aerocycle doesn’t particularly resemble Peter Leroy—except, perhaps, for the smile.
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