Monday, June 12, 2017

Another Turning Point


"If you come to a fork in the road, take it," said Yogi Berra, famed Yankee catcher of last century.  Berra is probably as well known for his unusual turns of phrase as his baseball.

The fork in "fork in the road" may be taken to be a place where the road splits and points in multiple directions, like a snake's tongue or the tines on the dining utensil of the same name.  One in a while, the fork in the road is the actual dining utensil.  The road is not always literal.  Sometimes we talk about a fork in the road that describes a course of events that is ending - maybe education, a relationship, or a job - and calls for a change in direction.

Berra's quote is unexpected because it sounds like he is giving directions, but the direction is ambiguous.  Do we veer to the left or to the right?  I find it helpful anyway.  Carry on.  Forge ahead.  It doesn't always matter so much which way you go, but that you keep going.

Another fork related idiom is "stick a fork in it," meaning put an end to something.  It definitely derives from cooking, but I'm not sure whether it suggests you poke an exploratory fork to see if your meat or potato is cooked, or rather that you remove it from the heat and take a bite.  Another sports legend, Laker announcer Chick Hearn, coined the much less ambiguous, "in the refrigerator,"  to describe a game that is over -- beyond turning.

2 comments:

  1. I love your fork in the road (it would make a perfect piece of sculpture too). Perhaps a companion piece about being on a knife's edge?

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