Did you ever hear a string of words coming out of your mouth and then wish you could inhale them back in before they reached anyone else’s ears? Not because you want to savor them but because they didn’t come out the way they should have?
I’m not referring to rude or hurtful comments or words that come back to bite us; just words that inadvertently come out the wrong way—maybe the wrong metaphor or worse, an unsavory one.
I heard both within just a few seconds on this morning’s local news.
The local NBC news team was doing a segment on the DC101 Chili Cook-Off, coming up in Washington on May 21st. In advance of the annual event, WRC, the local NBC affiliate, held a promotional chili tasting in the NBC cafeteria.
Setting up the piece, WRC anchor Kimberly Suiters announced to viewers that seeing all the chili “will wet your whistle.”
I assume—I hope—she knew as soon as she uttered those words that what she meant to say was “whet your appetite.” I’ve never known chili to wet one’s whistle. Water wets a whistle or, metaphorically speaking, quenches one’s thirst. Honest mistake, but also an opportunity to point out here that it is whet one’s appetite, not wet one’s appetite. FYI, to whet is to sharpen or to stimulate.
Suiters then threw it to reporter Jim Handly, who surely cringed when he heard himself announce that the Cook-Off would feature “chili out the wazoo.” Not exactly a visual DC101 was aiming for, I suspect.
I vote for giving these two metaphorical mulligans.