首页  | 专栏作家

Tempting fate?

中国日报网 2023-07-25 15:38


Reader question:

Please explain “tempting fate” in this sentence: Wearing high heels feels like tempting fate with each and every step.


My comments:

We must be talking about very high heels here.

Wearing very high heels is like walking on a pair of stilts.

Kind of.

So, that’s courting danger. That’s taking a high risk, literally. You run the risk of serious ankle injuries.

Or, rather, you walk the risk of ankle injuries because you cannot possibly run on a pair of high heels, can you?

You cannot do it without putting yourself under risk of injury, that is.

You cannot do it without, well, tempting fate.

Tempting fate?

That means courting disaster, doing something you know is dangerous.

To tempt someone with something is to entice them to do something they find attractive but know to be not right or beneficial or even downright wrong.

Fate, of course, means destiny. Our fate, especially for the superstitious, is kind of like how our life is going to pan out, something that’s kind of out of our control.

For example, if a fortune teller tells your mother that you as a boy should avoid rivers and lakes, your mother will take it to mean that you’re probably going to drown someday. To avoid that fate, she will tell you not to learn to swim. In fact, not to go near a swimming pool.

Now, if it so happens that you enjoy swimming very much and will take to the swimming pool at every chance you get, then don’t tell your mother anything about it. Or she will worry, feeling that you’re tempting fate.

You’re inviting trouble, in other words.

Perhaps I’ve given a poor example. In this day and age, nobody should put any store by the word of a fortune teller.

But you get the picture.

By the way, do you know the meaning of the phrase meet one’s fate?

Yes, that means to die.

So, if you don’t want to meet your fate prematurely, so to speak, don’t keep tempting it.

All right?

All right, let’s read a few media examples to view the phrase “tempting fate” in further context:

1 I hope Mrs. Jennifer Lynn Affleck has a plan. I hope that there is some unseen force guiding her at this moment, and that all will be happily revealed in time. I hope that she knows something we don’t. Because otherwise she is tempting fateand her life may go to pieces before her first wedding anniversary.

If you haven’t been paying attention to J.Lo’s press tour over the last week, here’s what’s happening: She’s releasing a new album called This Is Me…Now, which is a callback to her 2002 album This Is Me…Then. Then was all about Ben Affleck, as it was released right before the two called off their engagement 20 years ago. Now is also going to be all about Affleck, because Lopez is now married to him.

The way Lopez has been promoting this venture is making me VERY NERVOUS. Ben and Jen have been married for less than a year, and neither has the best track record when it comes to committed relationships. (Before this marriage, Lopez was engaged five times and married three; Affleck was engaged twice, married once, and in and out of relationships with SNL producers, Playboy bunnies, and Gwyneth Paltrow.) But Lopez is insisting that this time, their love is real and will 100 percent last forever.

“I think what the message of the album is – if you have, like me at times, lost hope, almost given up, don’t,” she said in an interview with Zane Lowe yesterday. “True love does exist and some things do last forever and that's real. I want to put that message out into the world and that does take a lot of vulnerability.”

Uhh yeah. She also revealed that her first breakup with Affleck made her want to die, and that this time around, Affleck engraved “Not. Going. Anywhere” inside her engagement ring to, uh, reassure her, I guess. “That's how he would sign his emails when we started talking again,” she told Lowe. “Like, ‘Don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere.’”

Always a good sign when you have to spell that out.

But perhaps the wisdom that comes with time has given Lopez more confidence in her relationship. “I think now that we’re older, we realize, it’s much more clear…now we know,” she added. “Now, we know. And there is no question and there is no kind of like, ‘Well, let’s see how this goes.’ Like, ‘Nope, it’s me and you. That’s it. All the way, till the end. That’s it. It’s going to be us.’”

What does Affleck think about all this? Well. “I think parts of it scare Ben,” Lopez told Lowe. “He’s like, ‘Oh, do you really want to say all this stuff?’ And I’m like, ‘I don’t know how else to do it, baby.’”

I’ll just say again that I really hope she has a plan.

- Jennifer Lopez Is Tempting Fate, by Allie Jones, Gawker.com, November 29, 2022.


2 This week, I’m examining the idea of whether you will catch a cold if you’re not wearing enough clothes. In an Instagram poll, 24 percent of participants said it was fact, while 76 percent said it was fiction, but who is right?

Also in this issue: Is age or mileage more important when you’re buying a used car, and the best butters for every occasion.

It is, I regret to inform you, cold season. It is the season of sniffling and congestion and rubbing your nose raw. It is that dreaded period when you are forced to play the game of “is this COVID-19, the flu, or a cold?” whenever you feel unwell.

It is also that time of the year when my grandfather used to tell me whenever I sneezed to wear more layers. “You’ll catch a cold like this,” he would say forebodingly. He was of a generation who believed young people were tempting fate with their wardrobe choicesand that the cure-all of all maladies was a good winter jacket.

But was he right? Will I catch a cold from not wearing enough clothes?

The answer is no, there’s no direct causal connection between the two. The common cold is a wastebasket term for a host of viruses that cause respiratory tract infection symptoms. And the truth is, you “catch” a cold not by exposure to the elements but by exposure to those viruses, says Joshua Septimus, MD, a medical director at the Houston Methodist Primary Care Group in Bellaire, Texas.

One of the most likely reasons people catch more colds in cold weather months is because they are around more people indoors, which can increase their exposure to germs. Much evidence shows that certain viruses and bacteria are often transmitted through inhalation of droplets or by touching surfaces that an infectious person has touched, and then transmitting the germs to one’s nose, mouth, or eyes, says Pamela Rockwell, DO, a professor of family medicine at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Another reason could be the dryness of the air. The mucus in our nose and respiratory tract helps trap pathogens we breathe in before they can cause infection. But the relatively low humidity in heated environments and the resulting dryness of the nose lining can make it easier for viruses to invade the body, Pamela says.

Okay, but is there no connection at all between exposure to the cold and getting a cold?

There may be indirect factors at play. Some research suggests cold weather can affect your susceptibility to being infected by respiratory viruses, says Andrew Karaba, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. In fact, a new study published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found that cold weather can impair the effectiveness of your nose’s innate immune response.

And while cold in and of itself does not trigger viral infections, your immune system does function at its peak when your body temperature is well-regulated. So it’s certainly possible that dysregulation of that balance could have an impact, Joshua says.

- Would You Get Sick From Not Wearing Enough Clothes? By Pang-Chieh Ho, ConsumerReports.org, December 21, 2022.


3 Australians are being warned the country’s economy is on a “knife-edge” after the Reserve Bank of Australia’s string of interest rate hikes, with a “consumer recession” predicted for 2023.

The bleak news comes as Australia faces the “weakest” rate of economic growth outside the COVID pandemic since the recession in the early 1990s, according to a Deloitte Access Economics Business Outlook report published this week.

In its March 2023 report, it said the RBA is “tempting fate”after the bank announced two interest rate hikes earlier this year, totalling 10 consecutive hikes since May 2022.

The central bank did hit pause on hikes in the April decision - but is expected to press ahead with further hikes going forward.

Deloitte Access Economics Partner and report lead author Stephen Smith said the economic circumstances have prompted a downgrade in Australia’s growth.

“Our view remains unchanged – the additional 50 basis points of increases earlier this year were unnecessary, and have prompted a further downgrade in Australia’s growth outlook,” Smith said.

“That downgrade is centred on our households, and a ‘consumer recession’ is now forecast in 2023, with household spending expected to finish the year below where it started.”

While most Australians will pull through the difficult economic challenges, Smith says that many will not, especially mortgage holders.

“At a cash rate of 3.6 per cent, most Australians will be just fine. Many, however, will not,” he added.

“In just 10 months, the cost of servicing an average $600,000 mortgage will have risen by more than $14,000 per year once those rate hikes are fully passed through.

“But that’s just the average, and there are plenty of mortgage holders on either side of those numbers.”

That equates to a touch over $1166 per month.

‘Consumer’ recession forecast for 2023 following Australia’s ‘weakest’ rate of economic growth, News.com.au, April 22, 2023.


About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.

(作者:张欣 编辑:yaning)


Kitchen sink? 一应俱全


Elbow room? 活动空间


Building blocks? 基石


Dragged his feet? 拖拉


Trust your gut 相信你的直觉


Sweetheart deal? 甜心交易

中国日报网 英语点津微信
中国日报网 双语小程序