Hard to call someone a horse’s ass: idiom usage

Photo: Iza Grek

Having said good-bye to the last of the Easter holiday makers in Durban, a coastal town in South Africa, we started to make our way home on Monday. On the way back we stopped at Van Reenen just off the N3 that runs between Johannesburg and the province, KwaZulu Natal.

Named after the original farmer in the area, Frans van Reenen, the small settlement Van Reenen can best be described as a one-horse town measuring about 2.5km north, south, east and west where everything gets done – school, church and general dealer.

Tiniest church ever

Imagine my delight when I got out of the car to take pictures of the tiny 8-seater church built in 1925, and I saw not one but two horses trotting past. I realised that this was indeed a Kodak moment, if not an historic one, but turned just seconds too late to capture these majestic animals.

Instead what I got was their back-end as they made their exit from the field back to the road.

When I looked at the picture, it was so pretty despite the butt-end of the horses as the main feature. The surrounding field with red flowers, the bird table and the tea garden in the distance made the shot quite beautiful.

No horse’s ass

I said to my friend that I would now have to think twice before calling someone a horse’s ass.  I will always have the image of the horses on the field in Van Reenen and it will not carry the weight of the insult as it is intended.

It’s usage is offensive and means stupid and annoying or foolish. I’ll never be able to use that expression to someone getting on my nerves because all I’ll see is that pretty picture from Van Reenen.

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