The human mind’s need for metaphors and comparisons is a well-documented fact, but sometimes the metaphors chosen are, to put it mildly, not exactly the most appropriate. Today, in yet another episode of Entertainment Erratically, I shall draw your attention to this particular word:
(adv) smoothly and satisfactorily, eg Things are going swimmingly
Now seriously, humanity. Of all the words you can coin for a synonym for “smoothly and satisfactorily”, you use swimming. You use swimming. WHY.
Well admittedly, runningly won’t do the trick– we all know how disgusting that panting, heaving sport is. Not exactly an ideal word for conveying a certain sense of lubrication when after about fifty steps into the activity you feel like lying down to watch the clouds float backwards would be a better illusion of movement. While walkingly is a much more enjoyable activity, things aren’t normally satisfactory if you’re proceeding at the rate at which you walk. There are exceptions, of course, but we need a word that caters to the general case. Flyingly would be a good idea if we could actually do it without a machine. And we mustn’t be so exclusive as to forget about people with a fear of heights– things sure aren’t going smoothly or satisfactorily if the contents of your stomach are about to be emptied onto unsuspecting passers-by below.
But come on, swimming?
Alright, I can see where the appeal lies. You proceed at a pace faster than walking, but with less effort than running. You can actually do it without an external aid. And I suppose that living in an environment which is about to get owned by floods from global warming makes swimming a word with overwhelming foresight from our carefree ancestors.
We actually didn’t swim, we used an ark.
Unfortunately, the likelihood that swimming will not go on smoothy and satisfactorily is, sadly, much higher than it proceeding so.
1. Swimming is more dangerous than sharks
We define danger as the probability of being forever extinguished when carrying out the activity. Because we think that being alive is the first prerequisite for a smooth and satisfactory, uh, conclusion.
If you are 3306 times more likely to be terminated by this activity than by sharks, surely it isn’t the best means for the purposes of this description.
Now I know you want to protest: “One drowns because one doesn’t swim!” While that might be true, let me present the second reason why this is such a lousy choice of a word:
2. You can’t swim.
“What!!” you exclaim. “What is this blatant falsehood! This utter piece of bullshit! I am never visiting your blog again!” I’m sorry the truth hurts you so. But let me tell you what can swim. Sharks can swim. Sea snakes can swim. Even amoebas can swim. You know what can’t swim? Humans. Contrary to popular belief, the mere ability to move through water is not swimming.
So what can we use instead? I’ll propose cyclingly. It enables you to travel vast distances at a faster rate with a higher chance that you’ll still be alive to enjoy your success at the end of the metaphorical journey.
Unless you get owned by a car.