I need to get out of this hole


Welcome to SoundCzech our long-running language series in which you can learn Czech idioms through song lyrics. Today’s final edition looks at the expression vypdanout z týhle díry – to get out of this hole. The expression features in a song by Mňága a Žďorp a very popular alternative rock band from Valašské Meziříčí, called Ve 4 rano – At four in the morning. The setting is a bar or club just before closing: the music has come to an end, no one has anything left to smoke and the tables are dirty from spilled drinks.

The díra or hole described in the song is not just the bar but the town where the protagonist has spent his half his life. Petr Fiala sings ‘mám hroznou chuť vypadnout z týhle díry’– I need to get out of this hole, in fact he has a terrible desire or yearning to leave. But he winds up back where he is apparently again and again. His will, it seems, is not strong enough.

Photo: archive of Radio Prague
In Czech vypadnout literally means to fall out of something as in vypadnout z vlaku to fall off the train. It can also mean to be out of the game vypadl ze hry– he lost or was knocked out, as in a tennis player in a tournament or a card player in a poker game. It can even be used regarding someone up for a new job position. Vypadl ze hry– he or she no longer have a shot.

Speaking of pubs or drinking holes the imperative of vypadnoutVypadni! is often heard in dives late at night especially regarding down-on-their-luck individuals whose business is not wanted. Very, very rude, but not uncommon: a proprietor can shout Vypadni! or Odprejskni! which basically translates as get the hell out of here. Bouncers throwing out someone who has picked a fight or not paid their bill or done something inappropriate at a club would shout it too. A far cry from wanting to get out on your own.

If you’re on the receiving end of such a tussle, you might do well to heed the advice. In other instances, such as when someone leaves their job for example without so much as a goodbye, you’d say vypadnul jako cukrář– literally, he disappeared or got out like a pastry chef or a pie man. I’ve never come across that expression in conversation, only on paper, but it’s an interesting one: he disappeared without so much as a by-your leave at the first opportunity, unlike the protagonist in the song by Mňága a Žďorp. Must have been a real dive.