The other day a caller reminded us of one of the most wonderfully liberating expressions in all of the English language: It’ll never be seen on a galloping horse.
This caller told us that her mother used to say this whenever she was talking about something that “wasn’t perfect, but was good enough.”
It seems this phrase is popular among quilters in particular. (As in, “Maybe my stitches don’t match up perfectly, but doggone it, they’re good enough!”)
It’s a great expression, isn’t it? There’s the wonderful, galloping rhythm of it — and then there’s the delicious hyperbole. Of course you wouldn’t see whatever it is on a galloping horse! A nice lesson in keeping one’s perspective, no?
Several listeners have since called and emailed us with variations of this phrase. Kelly from San Diego had heard it as you can’t see dust on a galloping filly. Patrick called from Madison, Wisconsin to report that in his native Ireland, the expression is: A blind man on a galloping horse wouldn’t see it. (Another vivid version I’ve seen: A blind man running for his life wouldn’t see it.)
In any case, the next time I’m tempted to overwork something I’m writing, I’m going to make myself think of galloping horses and move on. Which is why I’m hitting the “post” button right now.