Happy as Clams

Happy as Clams

happy as clams

Two friends are happy as clams and discuss work. One new Idiom is “In my face.” The Grammar focus is on Ellipsis.

Jesse: “I have to get a job. Prices have gone up on everything.”
Jim: “I thought you had a new job.”
Jesse: “No, the work was fine but I couldn’t stand the boss.”
Jim: “So you got fired?”
Jesse: “No, I just quit. He was always in my face.”
Jim: “Did they pay well?”
Jesse: “No, even the money sucked. How’s your job?”
Jim: “I’m happy as a pig in mud. No problems there.”
Jesse: “Do they need anybody else?”
Jim: “No, I think there’s a waiting list to get on!”
Jesse: “That good, is it? Well, I envy you.”
Jim: “You’ll find something good, I’m sure of it.”
Jesse: “If I don’t, I’ll be out on the street.”
Jim: “You can shack at my place if that happens.”
Jesse: “Appreciate it, bro.”


In my face means provocative, aggressively unavoidable. See online Idioms Dictionary.
It sucked is rude slang for it was very poor, inferior, or undesirable. See online Idioms Dictionary.
Happy as a pig in mud (same as “happy as a clam”) means very joyful and contented. See online Idioms Dictionary.
On the street means homeless, without an established place of residence. See online Idioms Dictionary.
Shack (up) means to live with someone or stay at someone’s house temporarily. It often has sexual connotations. See online Idioms Dictionary.
Bro, short for “brother,” is slang for a male friend. See online Dictionary.

Suggested Topic for Comments: Ellipsis

“Appreciate it.” This elliptical sentence seems to violate the fundamental rule that every non-imperative sentence in English requires a subject. Here, “I” has been dropped. But ellipsis is very common in informal conversational English.


Two friends discuss ambition in the workplace. Another Idiom featured here is “upset the apple cart.” The Grammar focus is on Phrasal Verbs.

Simeon: “I’ve been working on this so long my eyes hurt.”
Grady: “What are you working on?”
Simeon: “It’s a project for work. The big cheese wants us to write some recommendations.”
Grady: “For real?”
Simeon: “Yes, I have several suggestions.”
Grady: “Are you asking for 30 for 40, or whatever it’s called? Work 30 but get paid for 40?”
Simeon: “Like in Europe? No, I wouldn’t upset the apple cart with anything like that. Just a ten-minute break in the afternoon, that kind of thing.”
Grady: “I guess you could get fired if you go all socialist on them.”
Simeon: “I’m happy as a clam there, so I have no reason to complain.”
Grady: “How many hours a week do you work?”
Simeon: “Probably nine hours a day, plus I usually stay over a little.”
Grady: “But you take a class in the evenings too, don’t you?”
Simeon: “Ya, so maybe sixty hours a week. But I’m very ambitious.”
Grady: “You want more.”
Simeon: “I do, that’s a big 10-4. I totally want more.”


The big cheese means the boss, the key figure, the leader. See online Idioms Dictionary.
Upset the apple cart means to upset or ruin something, disturb the status quo. See online Idioms Dictionary.
Happy as a clam means very joyful and contented. See online Idioms Dictionary.
Stay over as a phrasal verb means to stay overnight. See online Idioms Dictionary.
10-4, which comes from CB radio, indicates affirmation or acknowledgment. See online Idioms Dictionary.
Totally means to a great or extreme degree. See online Idioms Dictionary.

Suggested Topic for Comments: Phrasal Verbs

The Free Dictionary online gives only one interpretation for “Stay over” and insists it means to stay overnight. But “over” can also be used to mean to stay past closing, or past the end of the work day.

Merriam-Webster online also designates “Stay over” a Phrasal Verb which means to stay overnight. But this indicates to me the Preposition “over” in informal dialogue is on a continuum of meaning, and the context will determine whether it is behaving as a Preposition or a Particle.

If “over” is used as a Particle in the Phrasal Verb “Stay over,” the idiomatic meaning is to stay overnight. But used as a Preposition, it means to stay past closing, stay over the final hour of the day, stay past the bell, etc. To stay past 5 p.m. can be expressed as to “stay over” and does not declare its meaning “to stay overnight” as it does when used as a Particle in the Phrasal Verb.

Needless to say, there are other instances in modern English where the context determines the meaning and part of speech of a particular word. For example, “lead” can be a Noun or a Verb, depending on the discourse context. Some linguists (Dowd, Bolinger) may insist that the designation as Preposition or Particle can only be determined in context.

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