It turns out that parts of the human body lend themselves particularly well to this kind of adaptation.
Have you noticed how many parts of our body double up and do figurative duty in English usage?
That’s not entirely unreasonable: English words, after all, are constantly changing, not just in the meaning of what they mean, but in the way they mean what they mean. The use of the English language can and does transform its parts of speech from one meaning to another without even changing a syllable. Thus, in golf, speaking of “the green” is a common way of designating a golf course; the name comes from the adjective green, as in “green grass”, the meaning of which has adapted to describe the golf course itself, since its predominant feature is green grass. English is flexible in this way, creating a noun from a descriptive adjective.
It turns out that parts of the human body lend themselves particularly well to this kind of adaptation. It’s easy to create metaphors from your biology and apply them to situations that have nothing to do with your physical form. Let me illustrate what I mean by this slightly discursive foray into the how.
Assuming you, the reader, work for a company, let’s start at the top – you can run your company, and it’s quite possible that the announcement of your appointment will give you a heady feeling, especially if you’ve been promoted. Maybe you’ve always had a nose for spotting trouble and avoiding it, which is why you got nominated before your peers. Or maybe you were bled early in the business? You may be the kind of leader who is always supportive of your employees and you know early on when to toe the line set by management. Or maybe you’ve fought your way through the job, using heavy-handed tactics to oust your rivals. (Or maybe you even put your head to your knees!)
But never forget that, as every head knows, it feels lonely at the top. You have to have the heart. It’s clear that competing head-to-head with business rivals can be a challenge, and one ruthlessly determined competitor can skin you. You might watch your rivals’ business practices with suspicion, but still be unable to put your finger on what they are doing that makes them better than you. You may be a good student of textbook best business practices, but it’s not enough to just get down to business – you need to have a clear idea of how things should be. A little research and you might be able to nail it! And they’ll just have to give it to you. But if things go wrong with some of your decisions, you will have to face the consequences and take the blame. Worse still, if you are held responsible for major losses, you will have to put on the hair shirt and you risk having your head on the block!
If the worst were to happen, you could be fired and the company car taken away from you. Then you would have to take a ride or go home. And if you take a taxi, you will have to pay the bill. I know it’s not easy to bear that thought. You will need courage to face adversity. And of course, you must have the courage to face your detractors in the face of their hostility. Failure brings out bile in some people. Their comments will not be acceptable. The kindest will serve you; the baddest will flay you alive. In any case, you can be sure that in bad times, tongues will waver in guttural whispers, and people you trusted will begin to speak ill of you. You can try to blame your mistakes on others, but that won’t always work. There are always people trying to poke their noses into your business, even if you tell them to smash! You have to hand it to them – they persist. It is best to turn a deaf ear to their comments.
I’m sorry to have told you such a depressing story. But don’t let that confuse you too much. Have a heart: life is always worth living… but it depends on the liver. (Yes, that has a double meaning too!) Don’t worry; I was just pulling your leg.