Saturday, June 30, 2012

Ten Ways To Tell You're In A Pickle

I found myself in a pickle recently. I don't recall what happened to get me in one: which is probably how I got there.

It wasn't like seeing the image of Jesus in a Cheeto or the Virgin Mary in a grilled cheese sandwich or anything. In a pickle is an idiomatic phrase meaning to be in a condition of embarrassment, difficulty, or disorder. Unlike a totally disastrous situation, being in a pickle is a bit more lighthearted. It's a situation that seems to hit designers, actors, writers and artists more so than normal people. But everyone must get oneself in one once in a while. You have to. It's a law. It keeps one humble.

Origins? The Middle Dutch phrase in de pekel zitten, ("sit in the pickle") probably gave birth to the figurative meaning of being in a pickle. Shakespeare was one of the first to use in a pickle, in The Tempest, 1610:
ALONSO: And Trinculo is reeling ripe: where should they find this grand liquor that hath gilded 'em? How camest thou in this pickle?
TRINCULO: I have been in such a pickle since I saw you last that, I fear me, will never out of my bones: I shall not fear fly-blowing.

There are many ways to tell if you're in a pickle. Here are a few of the more obvious ones. You are officially in a pickle if:
1) You find yourself locked out of your house. In your underwear. In broad daylight. After your significant other came across some harmless emails you wrote to someone named Bambi. The neighborhood is having a block garage sale with lots of people who know you milling around and she won't let you back in
2) Finally, you get a meeting with a great new potential client, so you take them to an expensive place only to find out when you go to pay that your credit card has been rejected and you have $3.29 in your pocket
3) The tax auditor calls for a five year review of your returns the day after your kids shred your tax receipts to make play spaghetti
4) Your best friend advises you to get a lawyer. Up to that point they were your lawyer
5) When you call your boss lately they answer with a fake and very politically incorrect Chinese accent saying "Herro. No is here. No speaky Engrish."
6) While out to dinner you lend your car to a sick friend, thinking you'll grab a cab home. Then you remember you left your wallet and cell phone in the glove box and your house key is on the key ring... and you're not feeling too well
7) You work for months on an exciting new product brand for men's hats only to discover minutes before the client presentation that the name you've hinged the whole project on means poop in Romanian (rahat)
8) Your new teetotaler in-laws drop in unexpectedly for a visit and your bathtub is full of homemade beer
9) Upon waking up after what was originally to be a quiet night out you discover a cease and desist order pinned to your pajama bottoms, and
10) A neighbor (of the undesirable persuasion) invites you to a pole dance and you agree, thinking it to be a quaint ethnic folk dance at the community hall.

Of course, all pickles work themselves out eventually. It just takes time and a sense of humor. Have a great Canada Day and 4th of July everyone to the south!


  1. I think if you combine #s 1 and 10 you're in business!

    1. Two wrong pickles make a right pickle.