I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “happy as a clam.” I’ve heard it most of my life and never really understood why people selected the humble clam as the poster child for happiness.
Let’s face it: at least to the casual observer a clam’s life doesn’t seem to inspire that much happiness. And, even if clams are happy how would we know.
In an effort to eliminate my cognitive dissonance about the mood of clams, I resorted to thinking perhaps the shape of the clam’s shell resembled a smile and that fact was the derivation of the “happy as a clam” idiom.
Well, the mystery and uncertainty surrounding the apparent happiness of clams finally became unbearable (which is a sad commentary about my own life 😉 ) and I was forced to do some research and solve the puzzle once and for all. (Drum roll please)
The Rest of the Story
It seems that the phrase “happy as a clam” is an abbreviated version of the actual saying, which is, “happy as a clam at high tide.” Who knew?
Since clams are only harvested when the tide is out, it becomes apparent why when the tide is high the clams are, well, happy as a clam!