Idiom of the Week: One afternoon in your next reincarnation


By MCKENNA TIEGLAND/// Senior Staff Writer

For the last Idiom of the Week, we continue our journey around the world, one misshapen phrase at a time. This time we head to Thailand for what is a fantastically sassy twist on a common English idiom. Most native English speakers have probably heard the saying “when pigs fly” at least once in their life. While that’s fine and dandy, I would like to make a motion to adopt the Thai version: ชาติหน้าตอนบ่าย ๆ  (transliterated as “Chadi na donbai”), or “One afternoon in your next reincarnation.”

While both idioms essentially mean “It’s never gonna happen,” “Not in your wildest dreams,” or “Nah, man,” the Thai version of the idiom is somehow a touch more lively. I mean, there’s always what my dad says: “Only on Thursdays.” But I dunno; he’s kinda weird. The Thai idiom also has a note of sophistication that somehow sort of borders on “stereotypical monocle-wearing, wine-swirling mustachioed English gentleman.” Maybe it’s just because the Thai idiom has multisyllabic words, whereas the English one (“when pigs fly”) does not.

But, I think that there is something to be said about its emphatic specificity, too, which may also lend itself to the sophisticated tone. Whatever you want is not only just never gonna happen, but it’s never gonna happen one afternoon. Then, to add insult to injury, even after you die and are reborn as an entirely new being, it’s still not gonna happen. I just like to imagine what that one afternoon looks like where you’re reincarnated and you still can’t get what you want.
All I’m saying is that I would like for this article to serve as a formal petition to replace the American colloquial use of the “when pigs fly” idiom with the significantly more entertaining Thai version: “One afternoon in your next reincarnation.” I mean, it could happen.

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