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Happy as a clam

如果说 "happy as a lark"很容易被大家接受,因为"云雀"总在清晨发出清脆悦耳的啼叫声;如果说 "happy as the day's long"大家也能够理解,因为日子长了,大家开心的时间自然多了;那么,为什么会有 "happy as a clam"一说呢? "Clam" (蛤蜊)和快乐有什么联系呢?

在19世纪上半期,美国俚语迅速发展, "happy as a clam in/at high water"和 "happy as a clam at high tide"频繁被人们使用。1860年Atlantic Monthly杂志有这样一段文字, "I am sure I've been as happy as a clam these last six years, and I don't calculate to reck[sic] that by getting' married, never."

1877年The Galaxy中有这样一段话: "homely, smacking of humor and belonging to slang, or on its confines, like 'snug as a bug in a rug,'...and 'happy as a clam at high water', that is, when the flood tide protects him from the spade".

我们可以从这句话找到一丝线索,发挥一下想象。如果你有在沙滩上挖蛤蜊的经历,那么你肯定知道挖蛤蜊要在退潮的时候,在沙滩上挖个洞,有时候要挖两英尺多深,才会发现蛤蜊。这只蛤蜊很可能正在抱怨自己的命运,企图逃走。蛤蜊最悲哀的事莫过于在退潮的时候被海水冲到岸边;涨潮的时候,在潮水中安全地飘荡,才是蛤蜊最快乐的时光。所以有"Happy as a clam in/at high water"和"happy as a clam at high tide"的说法。

这个古老的短语,近来成为了时髦的比喻,在轻松幽默的的谈话中,要表达 "非常高兴,非常惬意"之意,来上一句"Happy as a clam",再合适不过。James Coates就在2000年的《芝加哥论坛》的一文中写道:"Your humble corespondent used to be a cheap date in cyberspace. If you gave me a Pentium, a modem and maybe an ink jet printer, I was happy as a clam."