Raising the bar on chicken tenders

Published 10:35 am Tuesday, October 24, 2017

It was a lazy Saturday night. I arrived home around 7:30 pm after a nine-hour day at work….trying to play catch-up with numerous odds and ends on my desk that needed attention.

As I settled into my recliner and located the TV remote, I chose to spend my precious free time doing exactly what men do….falling on my knees and begging my wife to let me watch college football. A few big crocodile tears later, the tube was changed to the Michigan at Penn State game.

But, alas, duty calls….even in my off time.

About 10 minutes into watching the game, a commercial break was in order. Two of the spots ironically carried identical themes….a Ford F 150 commercial that boasted those trucks do not raise the bar, they are the bar; and a promotion from Wendy’s boasting their new chicken tenders “raise the bar.” Raise it over what, I’m not really sure because the majority of fast food chicken is not very “tender.”

Anyway, my mind started working on unique sayings, such as raising the bar. Where did that come from? It’s a sports analogy that is applied to reaching/exceeding goals in life or in business. It takes its meaning from a high jump competition where the bar is raised higher after a jumper successfully clears that height.

So, what about other highly used idioms? Here’s a list complied by www.smart-words.org:

A hot potato….speaking of an issue (mostly current) which many people are talking about and which is usually disputed.

A penny for your thoughts….a way of asking what someone is thinking.

At the drop of a hat means instant, without any hesitation.

Ball is in your court….it’s up to you to make the next decision or step.

Barking up the wrong tree….looking for something in the wrong place or accusing the wrong person. Note: this particular idiom occurs daily in politics.

Best thing since sliced bread….a good idea or plan.

Blessing in disguise….something good that isn’t recognized at first.

Burn the midnight oil….to work late into the night. Note: this saying became popular before Edison invented the light bulb.

Caught between two stools means when someone finds it difficult to choose between two alternatives.

Costs an arm and a leg…..when something is very expensive. This saying is unique in the fact that it’s difficult to trace the exact origin. Some believe it references the price charged by a sculptor. If he/she creates only the bust (head and shoulders) of a person, the cost is reasonable. However, adding more of the torso, to include arms and legs, results in a higher fee.

Cross that bridge when you come to it means to deal with a problem if and when it becomes necessary, not before.

Curiosity killed the cat….being inquisitive can lead you into an unpleasant situation.

Cut the mustard [possibly derived from “cut the muster”] means to meet expectations.

Don’t give up the day job….you are not very good at something. You could definitely not do it professionally.

Elvis has left the building….the show has come to an end.

Jump on the bandwagon means to join a popular trend or activity.

Let sleeping dogs lie…..do not disturb a situation as it would result in trouble or complications.

Let the cat out of the bag…sharing information previously concealed.

Method to my madness means an assertion that, despite one’s approach seeming random, there actually is structure to it.

And, finally, don’t count your chickens before the eggs have hatched, meaning don’t make plans for something that might not happen. Or in the case of raising the bar on chicken tenders, don’t assume they’ll be delicious coming from a fast food joint.


Cal Bryant is the Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact him at cal.bryant@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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