Now I’m not suggesting that you’re out of control. Well, maybe a bit. You’ve got to watch that diet, those calories, right? Pass up that Krispy Kreme donut and those crispy french fries.
Alright, I admit I’m just fooling around. So please forgive me for being a little disingenuous and a lot sneaky for trying to get your attention by masking the real subject of this column.
As a writer who lives for words, when I get “hold” of an idea, I’m inclined to pull out all stops to play games with that word. And maybe a tad with your mind. Today’s word is “hold.” Why “hold?” I’ve always been intrigued by the many expressions that include the word “hold.” And the meanings of some of the phrases in play with that word. Often having an opposite meaning as well.
Take “hold up” for example. That’s when someone’s wearing a mask, and clutching a hastily scribbled note in his sweaty hand, targets a bank to scoop up a pile of dead presidents. That’s where the money is (immortalized by the infamous bank robber, Willie Sutton, when asked why he robbed banks).
And at that same bank, a different “hold up” is taking place. That’s when the grumpy vice president “holds up” your mortgage approval until you put up a few more dead presidents toward the down payment. Blame the new regulations, he says.
“Hold your horses” has nothing to do with horse racing, but suggests slowing down or waiting a minute before getting involved with anything. Then after the wait, there’s no need to “hold back,” so you can be off to the races (metaphorically speaking).
“Hold the forty” has absolutely nothing to do with “hold off” an attack by marauding Apache indians, bent on taking some scalps at an army post in the wild west. In reality it means “holding” a firm stance on something any place.
How about when a Wall Street mogul talks about his “holdings?” His portfolio priorities: stocks, bonds, salary, real estate. Contrast that with the newly-wed groom who makes “holding hands” with his bride an every day romantic priority.
There’s also a time when an idea or a business venture is put on “hold.” Maybe just delayed a bit while details are worked out. Or it could be when a Sears shopper puts a “hold” on a new washer/dryer on their convenient layaway plan.
“Hold down” is a way to keep someone from getting up. That’s the down side. The other side takes place in a wrestling match when “Hold down” means one has an opponent in a firm “hold.” Pinned that is, on the mat, scoring a crucial point on the road to a win.
In the business world, one can “hold down” a well-paying job by making good points in the board room.
In baseball, a “hold” is when a relief pitcher “holds” on to the lead, giving the closer a chance to close out the win. On the football field, a “hold” means a 10-yard penalty and can lead to a loss.
Some folks find it difficult to “hold on” to a dollar or a job. Others, maybe more frugal or more fortunate, “hold on” for dear life. When someone says “hold it,” do they mean don’t do anything for the moment? Or does it mean “hold it” down when the noise level gets out of hand at the patio barbecue?
Okay, so I’m “holding off” anything else, while I go back to the donuts and french fries. Remember, I’m “holding” you to a higher standard of dietary discipline. Oh, I forgot. Don’t believe a word I just said. “Hold everything,” because I’m just funning again.
As I see it, there are no “holds barred” when I can have some fun with words.
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L.C. Goldman is a Naples novelist who has published 4 books. His latest novel, “The Fighting Ethnics,” is available at Barnes & Noble.