Colloquialisms: Canary in a Coal Mine

matthew's picture

Conversation with my staff over the phone in India today. I love colloquialisms.

Me: "In this case, our application is just the canary in the coal mine. "
Them: "A what?"
Me: "A canary in a coal mine. If it is dead, it's not because it had a pre-existing health condition."
Them: "What health condition did it have?"
Me: "... Uh. It was poisoned. By being in a coal mine."
Them: "Why would a coal mine poison a bird?"
Me: "The coal mine may contain poisonous gases. That's why miners would take a bird down into the mine with them: so if the canary dies, they could know to run to the surface."
Them: "That's so cruel. If there are poisonous gases in a mine, they shouldn't bring a bird with them in the first place."

Had to go on mute. Laughing too hard!