Almost only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear warfare. Of course he’d say this whenever he’d ask us if we’d done our chores, finished our homework or something similar. The meaning (in case you didn’t know) was — Get back to it until your finished because “almost” isn’t good enough.
Horseshoes is a game I’ve never played, but I’ve always wanted to at least once. It’s not a game one can play alone though. I looked up the rules for y’all in case you’re interested:
Not that I’d ever play competitively, I’m not competitive at all. But it’s something I’ve always wanted to try like at a party or something. It’s probably fun when everyone’s drunk. I totally missed my chance to play drunk horseshoes! Ah well, maybe in the next lifetime. ^_^ And seriously, what a strange game. I guess people had to think of something to do with all those horseshoes back in the day when they shod horses on the regular. Now that cars are more ubiquitous I suppose that they actually make special horseshoes for that game. I’m betting that when that game was invented, they just used old shoes that weren’t too bent out of shape, because what else were you gonna do with them? But I’m just guessing. I don’t know I’m not a horseshoe historian.
Anyway, that saying is what came to mind with the prompt, “Almost only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear warfare.” Come to think of it, he probably tacked on the ‘nuclear warfare’ bit at the end. Actually I’m pretty sure he did because this site on English Language and usage says the original phrase only had horseshoes in it. Then around about the 1960’s they added hand grenades, then some time later, people started sticking nuclear whatever on the end (the site says ‘bombs’, my dad said ‘warfare’, I see some other sites say ‘weapons’… it changes.). And it looks like the original phrase was Close only counts in… but people use “close” and “almost” in this case interchangeably. Like, “I’m close to getting my housework done” or “I’m almost done with my housework.” I guess you could say the same thing with nearly or any other synonym of almost. But Nearly only counts in horseshoes… doesn’t roll off the tongue as easily in my book. I suppose it all depends on the context.
In other news, it’s almost cold enough to snow here, but we still have rain. I wish it would snow because there’s no snow on the mountains and we kinda need that. Besides, the more it rains here, the more chance there is of the ground saturating and the river flooding (and we live on the floodplain). If it snows, we have less chance of that happening. So there’s that. I can live with almost flooding. 🙂