Going a little nuts!

Jack Nicholson in The Shining

Hello and welcome to another edition of SoundCzech, our language course in which you can pick up Czech idioms through song lyrics. In today’s episode we learn the expression rupnout v kouli used in a song called Proč, proč by folksinger Jaroslav Hutka. In Czech rupnout means to crack while koule is a sphere, but in this case it is slang for one’s head. When you say ruplo mu v kouli, you’re basically saying something went wrong in his head, he went a bit bonkers.

Jack Nicholson in The Shining
In J.R.R. Tolkien, it is the ordinary inhabitants who describe Bilbo Baggins as always being a bit cracked. Ruplo mu v kouli. He dropped everything to go off on all kinds of adventures.

In real life, ruplo mu v kouli might be a man at 40 suddenly experiencing a mid-life crisis. Something in his head snaps and he abandons all previous commitments: his job, kids, family and exchanges them for a new lifestyle: new girlfriends half his age, visiting casinos, buying a brand-new Porsche.

It can be darker too. Someone goes a little strange, unpredictable, dangerous. It’s Michael Keaton’s Bruce Wayne confronting Jack Nicholson’s Joker:

Michael Keaton,  Jack Nicholson in Batman
“Now you want to get nuts?! C’mon! Let’s get nuts!”

Something… snaps. Another way of saying it, is ruplo mu v bedně… something snapped in his box, the Czech word for box - bedna - being another slang expression for head. You can also say zbláznil se– he went crazy or přeskočilo mu– something in his head jumped the rails, he had a meltdown, or he blew a fuse.

You can suddenly flip-out and without a moment’s warning walk out of the work place. You can write a novel based on a single sentence repeated over and over: All work and no play make Jack a dull boy. It’s Michael Douglas snapping on the LA freeway, it’s The Shining and Jack Nicholson, and it’s Christian Bale famously flipping out on The Terminator set.

“No, don’t just be sorry! Think!!... Are you professional or not?!... No! No! Don’t shut me up!”

I know what you’re saying to yourself: Ruplo mu v bedně!

Michael Douglas in Falling Down
In Jaroslav Hutka’s song the expression refers to the Hussite warriors who he sings had the houfnice– an early cannon from which the word howitzer comes; he says they tried to shoot all the way to the sun… Why didn’t it work out? Well, they went a bit bonkers. Vono jim ruplo v kouli.

So… you want to get nuts? C’mon, let’s get nuts!!