We’ve all heard the phrase…”Don’t eat yellow snow!” For those of you unfamiliar with it, the warning is meant to discourage people from accidentally consuming snow that has been contaminated with urine – either animal or otherwise. It’s also the title of a 1974 classic song by Frank Zappa. I’ve never actually heard of anybody who’s eaten contaminated snow, which is kind of weird because the phrase is one of the more recognized sayings around.
This is a great example of a simple expression that…on its surface is says one thing…but upon closer examination communicates much much more. As writers we strive for that, creating multi-layered passages that give the reader pause. I would venture to say that it’s almost the holy grail of writing…increasing the word meaning without increasing the word count.