Alternatively, "the luck of the Irish" may be a backhanded compliment which means that any and all success achieved by Irish men and women must be attributable to luck. Because who could possibly believe that those potato-farming, whiskey-drinking, marshmallow-cereal-hoarding bastards could accomplish anything on their own merit?
"Seamus started a rewarding career as an investment banker. Must be the luck of the Irish, because those pricks can't count to 20 without taking off their shoes."
"A Foregone Conclusion" Is Something That Already Happened, Not Something That Will
Used primarily for things like climate change and celebrity breakups, a "foregone conclusion" is something that has to happen someday.
"My cousin Franklin is so hilarious, he's definitely going to become a famous stand-up. It's a foregone conclusion!"
What It Actually Means:
The phrase was coined by Shakespeare, a notorious inventor of word-things, and it was first used in Othello. In the play, Othello hears that Cassio has been talking dirty about Othello's wife Desdemona in his sleep. Rather than considering the ethical implications of believing the word of someone who listens to other men sleep, Othello immediately decides that the only reason Cassio could be whispering sweet nothings to himself about Desdemona is that the two have already boned.
H. C. Selous"Look upon thy slattern's exposed wrist; a grievous skankage hath she committed!"
It is, as Othello says, a foregone conclusion -- meaning something that has already happened. Something like the moon landing, or the disco era, or Kevin Spacey's non-direct-to-video career.
"My cousin Franklin isn't going to become a famous stand-up, because he died of rubella. It's a foregone conclusion."
"The Left Hand Not Knowing What The Right Hand Is Doing" Is Supposed To Be A Good Thing
An organization whose "left hand doesn't know what the right is doing" is one that is poorly managed, with multiple factions working against one another's interests without even realizing it. This is how companies end up sponsoring youth soccer while simultaneously employing third-world child labor, or how the NFL promotes inner-city education while paying young men to smash into one another brains-first.
"Justin Timberlake tried to be woke in his newest music video, while his website is selling T-shirts sewed exclusively by lazy-eyed Malaysian children with psoriasis. Talk about the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing!"
What It Actually Means:
This time, the phrase comes from Jesus himself, who dropped this pearl of wisdom: "But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth." While this may sound like it's about pleasuring yourself with your non-dominant hand, it is in fact about doing charitable acts and not bragging about them afterward.
John Singleton CopleyThis is why he tries to keep each hand as far away from the other as possible at all times.
Jesus was commenting on people taking selfies of themselves giving money to homeless people. It's a bit unclear why he wants people to do charity with their left hands only, but we're not biblical scholars here.
"Justin Timberlake donated $1 million to the #MeToo campaign and then didn't brag about it on social media. Talk about the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing. Which is a good thing. I don't know why I'm applying a semi-sarcastic phrase to the situation, now that I think about it."
Stephan Roget sometimes tweets frequently over @StephanRoget, but sometimes he doesn't for weeks on end. Follow him there, or here, or not at all. Don't let us tell you how to live your life.
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