When words do the heavy lifting
This doesn’t happen very often, but it’s a joy when it does. Someone sees a cloud formation that reminds them of a bear, a sign that looks like a t-rex eating porridge instead of a company logo, or – to take a real-life example – an angry drunken octopus. It’s not obvious at first, but all it takes is a short sentence, perhaps even one word, and the new interpretation becomes immediately clear.
You can never look at that coat hook the same way again. Now, you will always see an angry drunken octopus instead of the mundane piece of ironmongery it had been for so many years.
The power of a few words
I love it when words do that. These lexical conjuring tricks don’t come at the push of a button, which is why they become internet memes when someone discovers one. But it does remind us that a few words have the power to change perspectives – even on things we see every day. If a picture speaks a thousand words, a snappy sentence can change the meaning of the picture for ever.
In case you’re wondering where the title for this blog post came from: here’s a button I saw in a lift when I was at the dentist the other day. At first glance, it looked like a … well I’ll let you work it out.