Expressions. I didn’t grow up hearing them very often so, most of the time, when someone uses one, I don’t understand it and I just nod my head in agreement. (I also do that when the person speaking to me has an accent. I can’t understand anything said to me by a person with an accent.).
Recently, I heard someone use the expression “icing on the cake.” Doesn’t that mean an additional benefit to something already good? That everything you’ve already gotten/received/done was completely sufficient and that this one last thing, although not necessary, would make everything better? For the Jewish readers, I believe the saying is somewhat equivalent to Dayenu.
As I thought about “icing on the cake”, it started to make less and less sense. I understand the concept of being able to be satisfied even if you haven’t gotten every single thing that you wanted, and I agree with it. I’m just not sure that “icing on the cake” gets me there because if someone put a piece of cake down in front of me that didn’t have icing, I would be disappointed. Horribly disappointed. It wouldn’t be sufficient. For me, the cake itself isn’t “something already good”; it’s something that has the potential to be very good once the icing is added. Isn’t the whole point of cake the icing? I mean, sure, there’s pound cake which doesn’t have icing and is just fine, but for most other cakes, isn’t the icing a key component? Think about it this way: if you’re the type of person who likes the cake but not the icing, if someone served you a plate of icing with no cake, would you be satisfied? And if someone said “it’s the cake under the icing” would that make sense to you? (Ok, that doesn’t make sense to me either, but you get where I’m going, right?).
I think we need to start using a different expression. Cake without icing is wrong. It would be so dry as to potentially be a choking hazard. It would be so disappointing that it would discourage me from even wanting the cake in the first place. I wouldn’t feel good about it. When I think about an additional benefit to something already good, I think about getting a room upgrade at a hotel. Or a free Coke with a slice of pizza. Or finding out the pants you were going to buy on sale are now marked down for a second time. Maybe I’ll start using the expression “double sale.” Or maybe I’ll just say Dayenu, and people will look at me quizzically and just nod their heads in agreement.
I went to see Larry David’s “Fish in the Dark”. I realized a little late in the game that I wanted to see the show and by the time I had this realization the show was sold out. Obviously. So I had to buy tickets from…someone who had them already. Unfortunately, the tickets were in the nose bleed section, in the front row of what I think was the second balcony. I mean, literally (yes, actually, literally, not literally as in “I literally died when she told me that!”), I was so high above the stage that I was staring at the tops of the actors’ heads. The balcony was so steep that I had to clutch the banister on the stairs on the way down and up so I wouldn’t fall. No exaggeration. It was that steep. Once, I made the mistake of turning around to see who was behind me and the incline of the seats made my head spin. But I could barely look in front of me either because the gold railing, the only thing keeping me from certain death, was broken. The whole situation was, in fact, something I could imagine happening to Larry David. It then occurred to me that maybe he set this whole thing up, choosing a theater that had this crazy second balcony to make (some members of) the audience feel not only uncomfortable with the subject matter of the show, but uncomfortable physically as well.
As I sat in the balcony I could practically hear Larry David complaining about the seats: “I don’t like this balcony. No, I DON’T. LIKE. IT. AT. ALL. It’s too steep and rickety. What kind of a word is rickety anyway? Rickety, rickety, rickety. Sounds funny when you keep saying it…I’m getting sea sick looking at the people behind me. When did they build this theater anyway, 1400? Looks old. They say old buildings are safer because builders actually knew what they were doing back then, but I don’t buy it. Does anyone even inspect balconies? Or the chandeliers that hang over the audience? That one chandelier is barely even attached to the ceiling. They should have a balcony inspection certificate on file in the manager’s office…If someone sneezes this balcony is going to collapse. Collapse, I tell you! This is infliction of emotional distress. They should have weighed people before allowing them onto the balcony. ‘Hey you! You over there with the I LOVE NY shirt. How much do you weigh? 200??? Sorry! Above the weight limit. You’re outta here! And tell your pal to put away the peanut M and M’s. Looks like he barely made weight in the first place.'”