I am known, at least to Ian, to be a mixer of idioms. I think this is because I tend to learn by understanding rather than to learn my memorizing. For example, vocabulary and trivia-type sections on standardized tests have always yielded my lowest scores, probably because they require gross memorization. (I'd like to give a shout-out to my cousin Lauren who last week valiantly participated in a multi-school Geography Bee but was eliminated in the first round. Don't worry, honey: there are other ways to measure intelligence, and you are intelligent by all other measures!) Idioms, I feel, must also be memorized, because to merely understand an idiom leads to idiom mixing. For example, I have been known to answer, "Dead arrow!" when asked where to steer the canoe. Clearly I was mixing the idioms "dead ahead" and "straight as an arrow". There have also been situations in which I was ignorant of alternative meanings of idioms. For example, when I emailed the final draft of my preliminary exam to my PhD thesis committee I claimed it was the "money shot". I was excited at my achievement, and I knew "money shot" only in terms of basketball (a three-pointer at the buzzer, for example). A bit later in life I must have used that idiom in front of Ian, and he burst out laughing and told me its adult context (I don't want to be responsible for linking to this definition, so you can google it yourself). Only then did I realize that that email to my thesis committee contained my most embarrassing idiom blunder, to be sure. Fortunately, they gave me a PhD anyway. Whew.
Today I am intentionally mixing two opposing idioms to describe my brain: sharp as a tack + dumb as a post = sharp as a post. Which is to say, not sharp at all. I have settled on this as a fair description of my cognitive state because I don't think that chemotherapy has reduced me to being DUMB as a post, but I am certainly no longer sharp as a tack (if you accept that I ever was, of course). I have moments of sharpness, and moments of postness, so...sharp as a post. This usually clears when the dizziness clears, which should be next Friday or so. This cognitive weakening is far more frustrating than any of the physical side effects. I can live without hair and breasts, but please not my brain!!!!!!!!!!
The final proof that I'm temporarily reduced to being sharp as a post is that I did not trust myself to compose this blog entry at the time that I intend to use it, which is sometime this coming weekend. I composed this entry on 1/19 at 9:00 pm, no doubt riding the steroid wave from hard chemo. I like to call this 'roid wave the zone--the dexamethaZONE, that is (reminder: dexamethasone is the name of the anti-nausea steroid. For those of you devoted followers who have been curious, "In the dexamethaZONE" is the title I have been saving for a 'roid-induced 2:00 am blog post; fortunately, I'm never in the ZONE that long.) Thank you, dexamethaZONE, for facilitating this post. :)