It was so cold yesterday that it would freeze the balls off a brass monkey. That was what I muttered under my breath when we stamped into the house but my son, with his extra acute, yet selective, hearing caught every word. Sigh. I therefore had to explain I was not referring to a practice carried out by anyone in particular in this or any other country, and tried to impart the salutary lesson of not taking everything literally. Of course, he persisted in knowing more about the monkey, in particular the reference to the said monkey’s appendages. I therefore an abridged explanation of the various considered opinions behind the expression. He stopped me once again. I was obviously missing his point which he proceeded to explain in a much aggrieved tone. Is there a real ‘live’ brass monkey (like a robot) and, most importantly, is there a monkey with brass balls, and is he in any danger of having his own freeze off? My quick three-line explanation slipped quietly out of the door and dinner was put on hold.
Why, when I make a simple throwaway comment, does he extract every nuance yet when we sit down to discuss a school project it is as much as he can do to nod?
I shall, of course, henceforth keep all the zoological based colloquialisms within my repertoire to a minimum.