Some of my people have speculated about such things for a long time, but now it is official: it has been medically, clinically diagnosed that I have a screw loose. Perhaps regular readers will be less than shocked to hear this.
This comes from a doctor at the Fayette Memorial Hospital in Connersville, IN. I was following up last week on some recent medical unpleasantness, including getting x-rays. The doc suggested that a metal screw in my leg from years ago is "loose," which would supposedly explain other problems.
"You've got a screw loose." This was the direct quote.
The best part was that she was saying it totally straight. She apparently had no idea that she was saying anything funny, and certainly hadn't engineered the explanation of her diagnosis to be humorous.
Dr Maddali would appear to be from India. She speaks very good English, but seemed unaware of the idiomatic English usage of "loose screw."
Idiomatic language that seems simple to natives will throw off foreigners learning the language. They're just weird usages that are buried so deeply into the culture that natives simply absorb them one by one over a period of years growing up. It would probably take an immigrant that long to pick them up, even a smart doctor like Ms Maddali.
Gummed up idiomatic usage of language works both ways, making people sound odd in their second language by shoehorning in non-applicable uses of the old language. As a high school Spanish student, I once confused and then annoyed poor Señora Sun by saying in my Kentuckian version of Spanish that "John is trying to get into Mary's pants." This getting-into-pants usage apparently doesn't translate.