There once was a man too big for his bridges … Yes, yes, I know that’s not how the story goes, but it’s how this one is told.
When I first heard this phrase — or thought I’d mis-heard it, actually — I stopped the teller and said, “don’t you mean, too big for his britches?”
And the storyteller looked at me sadly as one does with an ignorant guest and said firmly “bridges.”
I persisted, of course. “It’s britches, like pants, you know? He was too big for his pants. He got so big, he couldn’t get his britches on right.”
A sigh and a sad little smile were directed toward me with barely contained exasperation, “No, it’s bridges. When you are too big for your bridges, you start thinking yourself superior to everybody and you lose your bridges: your connections. You have no friends, no family, no relationships all because you are too big for your bridges. You can’t get from here to there without bridges, and bridges are all the people who can help you when there’s a challenge ahead.”
Well, I’m here to tell you, that started to make sense. And just because I heard a phrase one way up until this conversation, and then heard it another way for the first time, I suppose it doesn’t automatically make me right.
But it did make an interesting little waterball sculpture.
“Too Big for His Bridges” one of a kind snow globe/waterglobe, (c) Camryn Forrest Designs, 2013