Ask Conlan: The Toughening

The nation of Japan writes:

When the going gets tough, do the tough really get going?

Well, Japan, this is an interesting question and there are two schools of thought on the subject.

The antediluvians contend that the going is only ever really tough when everyone drowns. And, because of magic rainbows or something, nobody drowns anymore, so there’s no reason for anyone to get going, tough or not. On the other hand, the protoreptilians argue that rocks are “tough” but they’re also warm sometimes (relatively speaking), so their answer is yes (assuming that “going” refers to “going to the bathroom”).

If you want my personal opinion, I prefer the long O pronunciation of “ough”. So you would say something like “I stubbed my tough,” and nobody would mind because they’ve got better things to do.

I hope that answers your question.