Shot nerves

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Welcome to SoundCzech, our language course in which where we look at Czech expressions through song lyrics. In today’s edition, we look at the expression “nervy nadranc”, which means having nerves that are completely shot. The song is by Hana Zagorová and is called Spěchám from the verb “spěchat” – which means to hurry or rush. In Hana Zagorová’s case: getting nowhere fast.

In the song Hana Zagorová sings she doesn’t want her nerves to be shot – “nechci mít nervy nadranc”– but there is every indication she fails: rushing from one minute to the next.

Situations when you might say “Mám nervy nadranc” - my nerves are shot - are probably obvious enough: anytime, anywhere one is under extreme pressure. Ahead of a university exam, a hospital procedure, or god forbid, an appearance in court for all those unpaid parking tickets! Equally, one could have shot nerves late for their own wedding (you forgot to pick up the rings??!!) or (if you’re a journalist) having missed an exclusive interview with a visiting head-of-state, or if you’re simply a camper trying to get out of town but find yourself stuck in endless traffic. Nooo!

Of course, not everything has to be a rush: some things come to a slow boil: “Máš nervy nadranc” - your are shot after you bet your savings at Euro 2008 and the score is still 0:0 and the clock is ticking. Remember, there’s no question “nervy nadranc” are not helped by drinking coffee after black coffee or chain smoking cigarettes on the balcony, or staying awake all night. When you hit the melting point well, good luck you’ll have “nervy v kýblu”– nerves in the bucket. That’s that, they’re shot, that’s it. No wonder, Hana Zagorová wants none of it!

“Nadranc” means something has been blasted to smithereens or blasted to bits: in this case, your poor nerves, You need a rest. A little R’n’R – relax, remember, it’s the weekend. On Monday it all starts all over again.