Cookies sometimes crumble. I know from experience that real cookies always crumble if you swipe one and put it in your pocket to take home. Cookies crumble so much that the idea of crumbling cookies has turned into an idiom. That’s the way the cookie crumbles basically means shit happens. Or, to be more polite, “Cosi va’l mondo” in Italian or “C’est la vie” in French. We use this expression when things don’t turn out the way we wanted them to, but we are accepting of the outcome. This expression generally refers to something that could not have been avoided. We don’t use this expression when things turn out really badly; that’s catastrophic, and if you use vulgar English, you might say you are in deep shit. A cookie merely crumbling implies an undesirable outcome, but not a disastrous one.
We say, that’s the way the cookie crumbles, or that’s how the cookie crumbles. For example, if you are fired from your job it would probably be disastrous. But if you were not selected for a job or a promotion while competing with 2,000 other candidates, someone will probably tell you that’s the way the cookie crumbles. (It’s more fun to tell someone about the cookie crumbling than it is to hear it from someone.)
If your cat jumps on your computer and deletes something you haven’t saved, that’s just the way the cookie crumbles. Live with it.
If you wait in line for three hours to purchase tickets to a Paul McCartney show, and they run out of tickets just as you get to the box office, well, that’s the way the cookie crumbles.
If you have a fail-proof recipe and decide to make it for guests and on that day it burns or flops for the first time, again, that’s how the cookie crumbles.
NOTE: a synonym for that’s the way the cookie crumbles is that’s the way the ball bounces. But for me, a bouncing ball does not evoke the same captivating image as a cookie.
The word cliffhanger comes from cliffs. Duh. Cliffs are vertical, or nearly vertical, rocks that have been formed by erosion and weathering. There are lots of famous cliffs, but the first ones that come to my mind are the White Cliffs of Dover, probably because there was a popular World War II song about them that was part of my childhood, and also because they are on the historical English coastline.
When one thinks of cliffhangers, England and its gothic novels always come to mind. Cliffhangers are the kind of story, book or movie that uses suspense either at the end of an episode or a scene. A good example was the way the final episode of Game of Thrones, season 5, was done. Jon Snow was dead. Or was he? Those of us who sweated it out until season 6 was aired were never really sure. The writers used old-fashioned melodrama, suspense and uncertainty, and the audience was left as if hanging from a cliff in a state of tension and apprehension. And that’s a true cliffhanger.
This part of the blog will not be able to offer any nail-biting cliffhangers, but it will have classes in series, and I hope they will be interesting enough that you will want to come back and read what happens next, even if you don’t lose sleep anticipating the next chapter. Enjoy.