Saturday, November 16, 2019

People say the funniest things

Have you ever noticed the funny things people say?  I think my pet parents say the strangest things, and I  never have any idea what they mean. I wonder whether they do.

Let’s start with “burning the midnight oil.”  Who burns oil?  Turns out the phrase originated in the days when folks used oil lamps and staying up late to write or read meant keeping the oil lamp going.  I had a good laugh at one explanation that said the phrase isn’t used much by young people.  Ya think?

Another phrase my mum is fond of is “no rest for the weary.”  I want to know who decided that was some kind of rule.  Mum and I turned to google to find out where this saying came from and discovered it first appeared as “no rest for the wicked” in a 1935 mystery novel and then appeared as no rest for the wicked or weary in another book 1979.  That still doesn’t tell me why it’s so.

I don’t often tell Mum she’s wrong, but when I’m weary, I just flop down wherever I am and snooze.  I think she gets the message that this silly rule does not apply to me.

Dad is the one who says, “Loose lips sink ships.”  I’ve come to understand this is a reference to my lower lip, which droops a bit.  Mum and Dad think that’s why I sling dog food nuggets on the floor when I eat—sometimes just a few, often lots.  When Dad sees the nuggets, he always mentions sinking ships, but I don’t know why. Well, this is one saying for which they both knew the meaning: Careless talk “could” sink ships if the information fell into the wrong hands.  The phrase originated during WWII and could be found on posters in the US.

The words Mutt and Jeff came up when Mum shared the story of one of her childhood dogs.  Now I ask you, how many folks today know who Mutt and Jeff are?  I sure didn’t.  They were cartoon characters in a comic strip that ran from 1907 to 1982. Mutt was tall, and Jeff was short.  I’m pretty sure there aren’t many young people who know what the reference means either.
When Mum was a girl, her family had a small dog named Pudgy, and Pudgy had a Doberman pinscher friend named Franz, hence Mutt and Jeff.

Do your pet parents say funny things? Do you know what their sayings mean?  If my readers send me enough examples, I’ll write another column on the topic. For now, though, this weary dog plans to get some rest, no matter what Mum says.

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