Brown Bag for April 2024

Brown Bag for April 2024

The End of the Day…

Overheard at the end of a long conference meeting…

“Janice, has the cat got your tongue?”

“No, I must have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed. Why, did somebody spill the beans?”

“Yes, and I noticed that you were giving John the cold shoulder when he was crying those crocodile tears after admitting he had left his wheelhouse by suggesting a new idea that was clearly outside the box.”

“On the contrary, my ears were burning when he let the cat out of the bag. Surely his comments got Jason’s goat. At least he stole our thunder. I know he was just trying to butter up our new CEO, but he certainly went the whole nine yards when he spilled the beans. Who does he think he is—a blue blood born with a silver spoon in his mouth? Talk about showing your true colors!”

Had enough jargon for one article? Me too. What started me on this topic was the dozen times I recently heard “at the end of the day” in just one broadcast.

While I am sure that most were able to follow the gist of the above (fictional) conversation, I am positive that we can admit that these aphorisms and idioms often outdated, but used frequently enough, can be puzzling to certain generations and newcomers to America.

Many of the idioms that were in common usage had their origins in naval history. Son of a gun is among the most interesting. In the days of yore, sailors often took their wives on their long voyages. If she were to give birth, it should take place in the most secluded place on board—and that would be between the cannons on the gun deck. Turning a blind eye originated with Horatio Alger who is said to have looked through his telescope with his blind eye so he could ignore orders from his superiors to retreat. And break the ice, which now is mostly construed to mean reducing the tension in a social setting, referred to small ships needed to clear the way for large commercial ships caught in frozen rivers.

So, before you decide I have a screw loose, I’ll have one for the road, and sign off by going cold turkey. After all, it is the end of the day.

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