It’s Better to be Wild and Crazy than Boring

Seeing that I just got up and was trying my best to think about what it is I wanted to share with you today, I thought to myself: “First things first:

Coffee – My Go to Beverage

Now, that I have some coffee in me, it is time to share yet another wild and crazy thought I think up when I am trying to be creative.

Ever wonder about some of those old sayings we remember hearing when we were kids. I love to find old sayings and do some research into what events may have caused them to come about. Such will be the topic of today’s post. What sayings, you ask?

Sayings like:

Pretty Kettle of Fish

Put the Kibosh on it

Get Down to Brass Tacks

Cut and Dried

See How it Pans Out

Know the Ropes

While it is probably true that many of you reading this post may not even know about the sayings, I am about to share with you. Fact of the matter is that back in the day and dependent upon where you were living or what your occupation/trade may have been, the sayings were quite common.

So, grab yourself a cup of coffee or tea (seeing that I have already had mine), put your feet up, relax awhile, and focus on the sayings I am about to share with you. And if this doesn’t take your mind off all the craziness going on – well, here is another trick I would like to share with you. I have found working puzzles like: Sudoku, Word Search, Criss Cross, and other similar puzzles known as HYGGE Puzzles keep my mind occupied and thus off the nonsense.

On to the sayings:

Pretty Kettle of Fish

This phrase has been popular ever since William the Conqueror took over England in 1066. Shortly after the Norman Conquest, one of the chief industries of England was fishing. To carry on his work, the early fisherman used a kiddelus, also called a kiddle. Even in the Magna Carta, there is a clause that guarantees the “kiddelus rights” of fishermen.

The kiddelus was an arrangement of nets thrown into the sea; when it was pulled out filled with fish it took on a kettlelike appearance. The sight of a kiddelus full of squirming fish, while a bounty to the grateful fishermen, was also quite a chaotic scene: hence “pretty kettle of fish” came to mean “chaos.”

The term kittle also means “to puzzle or perplex.” The perplexing confusion of fish, when caught, was first observed by Scottish fishermen. “Kittle of fish” was a common phrase for a bewildering fact, and by usage “kittle” became “kettle.”

Put the Kibosh on It

To put an end to a pointless or endless discussion is the literal meaning of the phrase “put the kibosh on it.”

In old England, on Petticoat Lane, there were numerous auctionhouses whose owners and patrons were Dutch Jewish refugees who had escaped to England to avoid religious persecution. They knew little English and did their trading in Yiddish, a dialect made up of Hebrew and German words and phrases. Kibosh was the Yiddish word for “eighteen half-pence” or “nine pennies,” a relatively insignificant sum. When an eager bidder wanted to cut short the bidding on a petty article, he would cry out, “Kibosh.” The bidding would stop and the article would promptly be sold to him.

Get Down to Brass Tacks

From Main Street to Wall Street, “Let’s get down to brass tacks” refers to getting down to work to finish the business at hand. This phrase originated from an old practice in the retail dry-goods business.

Before machines were invented to measure and cut the yard goods sold in retail stores, ever dry goods merchant had at least one counter where business was transacted. Along this counter’s edge, brass tacks were placed at quarter-yard intervals. These brass tacks were indispensable as measurement instruments, and a merchant knew that when his customer told him to use the brass tacks to measure off a quantity of material, he had made a sale. Hence, he was anxious to hurdle the preliminaries and “get down to brass tacks.”

Cut and Dried

When something is simple or easy to explain, we say it’s “cut and dried.” For this expression we are once again indebted to the lumber trade.

Wood, among lumbermen, is not lumber until it has gone through two processes. First it is “cut”; after cutting it is “dried.” Only then is it lumber, ready for sale and use.

See How it Pans Out

This phrase originated from gold mining. Miners still separate the coveted gold dust and nuggets from the sand in which they are found with a pan of water. When the pan is shaken, the heavier gold dust collects at its bottom. The lighter sand sifts through and floats off. From this practice the world has learned to discriminate in the same way the gold miner does – by “seeing how it pans out.”

Know the Ropes

Sometimes a phrase doesn’t become common until many years after the custom that inspired it has disappeared. To “know the ropes,” which means to understand everything there is to know about a particular subject or task, fits this description “to a T.”

The sailboats that preceded steamships were constructed with masts that rose from the decks of the vessel to support the sails and running rigging. These sails were outfitted with ropes. If a sailor did not know how to handle “the ropes,” he could not qualify for an important post among a crew. All ambitious sailors made it their business to “know the ropes,” but it wasn’t until the sailboat gave way to the steamship that the phrase became a part of the common vernacular.

Okay, that’s about all the common knowledge I can share this week but before I go here is something for y’all to think about and remember next time you think about me:

This old Octogenarian still has a full deck; I just shuffle a lot slower now!

Y’all have a good week now, ya hear!

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