The Bird Who Sticks His Head Out.

My parents weren’t big on idioms when I was a kid, and I’m probably happier off as a result. Idioms have a way of summing things up a bit too perfectly, of providing a universal answer to a singular context. Not ever wound demands a band-aid, I guess is what I’m saying.

The other thing is, only some idioms actually make sense. Most don’t seem to make any.

Take this old expression: “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” I’d always thought that it was an odd way of saying, “Go out and take a risk.” But as of 2009, this Urban Dictionary definition seems more appropriate.

Yesterday, I just finished reading Jennifer 8. Lee’s excellent “The Fortune Cookie Chronicles,” and it’s there that I discovered the Chinese equivalent of this semi-sensical English expression.

In Chinese, they say, “Qiang da chutou niao.” But in English, it means, “The bird who sticks his head out gets shot.”

See, now that I get.