I've just come across the short story "Do You Love Me?" by Peter Carey via a story-ID over at SFF. The basic premise of the story is that when something isn't loved, it disappears.
Upon reading through the story, I came across a repeated phrase that I'm unfamiliar with:
- A Contradiction
"Look at those fools," my father said, "they wouldn’t know if they were up themselves."
My father stiffened and sat bolt upright. The pressure of his hand on my knee increased until I yelped with pain, and still he held on, hurting me terribly.
"You are a fool," he said, "you wouldn’t know if you were up yourself."
“The world needs Cartographers,” he said softly, “because if they didn’t have Cartographers the fools wouldn’t know where they were. They wouldn’t know if they were up themselves if they didn’t have a Cartographer to tell them what’s happening. The world needs Cartographers,” my father said[.]
(all emphasis added)
What does this phrase "to be up oneself" or whatever mean? It's not immediately obvious from context, and it's a phrase I'm unfamiliar with.