Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Like the dickens!

I recently received an email from an old friend. He wrote, "Love ya like the dickens!" When I first read it, I thought he wrote, "Love ya like the chickens." This is the kind of misunderstanding I have about 100 times per day, while trying to speak Spanish. The conversation goes like this:

Bill: You love chickens?

Spanish Speaker #1 (SS1): Not chickens, dickens!

Bill: Charles Dickens? I think the Muppet's version of a Christmas Carol is one of their best movies. Having Rizo the Rat as one of the narrators is really funny.

SS1: No, no, no! It doesn't have anything to do with Charles Dickens. "Like the dickens" is a phrase meaning "a lot!"

Bill: A parking lot?

SS1: No, a lot is a reference to quantity. Like the dickens means "a bunch" or "much."

Later that day:

Spanish Speaker #2: How much cream do you take in your coffee?

Bill: Dickens, Gracias!

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