or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Down There

Here's me being picky again, and, worse, picking on another poor innocent cartoonist whose only desire is to make nice drawings. But a mistake is a mistake.

Here's a panel from Carol Lay's Salon.com comic strip, "Story Minute":

"Veil of tears" is wrong. It's a suggestive image, of course, and you can see where the misunderstanding came from: life as a perpetual misery, seen through a film of tears over the eyes. But that isn't the original sense, spelling, or meaning of the phrase.

It's actually "vale of tears". A vale is a valley (etymologically, they're the same word, as you might have gathered), and the vale of tears is life, a dark and wretched gully through which we all have to trudge before we reach the other side--death, and presumably heaven.

Need I tell you that I don't subscribe to this view of the world? Life has its miseries, but also its compensating joys, and someone who thinks life is nothing but (as I put it to someone at work the other day, jokingly, of course) "endless toil and then the grave" probably needs to get out more, meet some new people, stop moping around.


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