Monday, September 27, 2010

The Mad Man and the Misinterpreted Metaphor

In today's must-know celebrity news, we're told that actor Jon Hamm, who plays the fascinating Don Draper on "Mad Men" (for those of you cultural defectives who don't know that), has suffered from debilitating depression. This comes from an interview in the UK magazine The Observer, in which he credits antidepressants with helping to break the spell:
"If you can change your brain chemistry enough to think: 'I want to get up in the morning; I don't want to sleep until four in the afternoon. I want to get up and go and do my shit and go to work and ...' Reset the auto-meter, kick-start the engine!"
I took a moment to puzzle over what an "auto-meter" might be until it occurred to me that Hamm probably said odometer with the emphasis on the first syllable, and the British interviewer, in transcribing his words, wrote what she thought she heard, probably assuming it was some kind of uniquely American gadget. Thus leaving us with a passage that's needling into the red zone on the odd-o-meter.