Have You Ever Heard The Term ‘Piss Poor?’ I Had No Idea It Comes From THIS! Fascinating!t
We can learn a lot about ourselves by looking to the past. History not only provides us with a nostalgic glimpse at how things used to be — like with these classic childhood toys — but its lessons can still teach us things today.Many of us fondly refer to “the good old days” when times were purer and life was simpler.
They used to use urine to tan animal skins, so families used to all pee in a pot. Once a day it was taken and sold to the tannery.
If you had to do this to survive, you were “piss poor.”
But worse than that were the really poor folks who couldn’t even afford to buy a pot. They “didn’t have a pot to piss in” and were considered the lowest of the low.
Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May, and they still smelled pretty good by June.
However, since they were starting to smell, brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor.
Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.
Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water.
The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women, and finally the children. Last of all the babies.
By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it. Hence the saying, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water!”
Houses had thatched roofs with thick straw-piled high and no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof.
When it rained, it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof. Hence the saying, “It’s raining cats and dogs.”
There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed.
Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That’s how canopy beds came into existence.
The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the term, “dirt poor.”
The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on the floor to help keep their footing.
As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entrance-way.
Hence, “a thresh hold.”
In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire. Every day, they lit the fire and added things to the pot.
They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day.
Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme, “Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old.”
Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off.
It was a sign of wealth that a man could “bring home the bacon.” They would cut off a little to share with guests, and would all sit around and “chew the fat.”
Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning death.
This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.
Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or the “upper crust.”
Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days.
Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial.
They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up.
Hence the custom of holding a “wake.”
In old, small villages, local folks started running out of places to bury people.
So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a bone-house, and reuse the grave.
When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside, and they realized they had been burying people alive.
So they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell.
Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (“the graveyard shift”) to listen for the bell.
Thus, someone could be “saved by the bell,” or was considered a “dead ringer.”
Now, whoever said history was boring?
Great stuff, thanks!
Some might be true. Some of the things we did when I was a boy. We had to heat the bath water on a stove so only took a bath about once a week and shared with the others. But we did use a wash cloth every day to wipe down the skin. Not so much by gender, but by how dirty each person was. the The dirtiest went last. But most of the things mentioned happened maybe in pioneer days but not quite so much as in Model T days. I grew up during the last part of the depression and during the second world war. One thing I remember was wearing my clothes until they were either too small or patched. I wore the better ones to school every day and changed to the oldest ones to play after school and on Saturday. Mom washed on Saturday. I wore the same clothes every day to school for a week and then when they were washed I wore them again next week. I noticed some of the kids wore different clothes every day and about 14 or 15 I wanted different clothes to be like the others. Fortunately, I had slowed down growing so I could keep them for best for a longer time and so could have more good clothes to wear to school.
Welcome to the golden age of misinformation. That is not history - it's baloney.
Don't believe everything you read on the internet.
"In a nutshell, this article about "Life in the 1500s" is nothing more than an extended joke, someone's idea of an amusing leg-pull which began its Internet life in April 1999. All of the historical and linguistic facts it purports to offer are simply made up and contrary to documented facts."
ummm I believe that snopes.com was exposed as a fraud as well a while back for making up stuff to suit their purpose. The history magazine appears ok though.
I posted it as a way to lighten up everyone's day as it made me laugh reading it. I did not think it was a true history.
Erik, I feel so sad, finding out all this stuff I have been reading on the internet is not true. I suppose next you are going tell me there is no such thing as Santa Claus?
Are you a member of the Democratic Party?
I love etymology! And I thoroughly enjoyed reading through all of those (even if I did not believe all of them). A few of those, I expect may be closer to the truth than one might believe. It is a known fact, that many words and phrases we use today, arguably have more than one original source. Colloquialisms can form independently in different places around the world, and different meanings in different places. Many words mutate from different languages, and develop whole new meanings. Many things actually have their real beginning in ancient Greek, or Latin, twisted though some Castilian Spanish, then modified though one of the Germanic languages before being translated to English.
A little more on topic. If you want to try to sort out an interesting one? Try to research "23 skiddoo". That should count as a model T connection.
Thank you all! And more to come I hope.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
I know my uncle from California doesn't understand the colloquialisms from Texas. He was down last year and I don't remember what I said, but it was something people around here say all the time. He had no idea what I was talking about. Fake news starts out believable. I looked at "25 odd airplanes" on a Facebook post last night. Started out interesting. I'm no aerospace engineer, heck I've never been on an airplane, but I don't think there is any way some of those planes could fly. Maybe fly but never land. Saw the Spruce Goose. OK that was real but I don't know about the wingless plane that was a jet engine with a tail. I saw no passenger or pilot compartment.
Arnold, there is some thought that Beethoven died from lead poisoning due to drinking wine from pewter cups.
Say what you want about the other stuff, but the story about one tub of water to bathe the whole family is 100% true. At least it was for the family of my dad's best buddy growing up. He would always rush home from playing on Saturdays to not get the last of the bath water. A family of 7 or 8!
As to Beethoven:
A paving company at one time had to re-route a roadway right through the graveyard where Beethoven was buried. In order to do so, they had to move the many graves that stood in the way, including Beethoven's. The crew who dug up Ludwig got curious. Says one to the other, "whaddya suppose we open it up and see what the old boy looks like"? They pry open the coffin and to their shock, up pops Beethoven! He's got some sheet music in one hand and an eraser in the other, frantically erasing notes. One of the workmen gets the nerve to ask, "what the heck are you doing"? To which Beethoven replies, "Decomposing".
Take that one to Snopes!
Give me a break. The gist of the "article" is the origins of sayings.
My mother grew up on a farm in northwestern Minnesota with no running water, electricity or central heat. She can tell you all about sharing bath water on a Saturday night. I've heard it all before.
The pecking order for the washtub has nothing to do with the phrase "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water."
Still and all, that was fun.
I am thankful for that paving company being able to straighten these things out... I always wondered where the word decomposing came from??
This is the story of Falling Rock.
Many hundreds of years ago, an old, old Native American chief lived in the valleys somewhere in America. This chief had the most beautiful daughter named White Doe. Every man in the tribe wanted to wed the daughter of the Chief, but could never muster up the courage to do it.
By chance, two of the men in the tribe mustered up the courage to ask the chief for permission to marry White Doe at the same time. One was named Winding River, and the other was named Falling Rock. They were of equal skill level and physical strength, so the Chief could not pick one to marry his daughter. He had a clever idea. He said to the two men, "Whichever of you goes out into the wilderness and brings me a white doe first can marry my daughter, White Doe."
This task was extremely difficult because the deer that had to be found was female and albino, which is the rarest kind of deer. Both men would not back down from the challenge, though. Winding River went off to the plains to find a white doe. Falling Rock went up into the mountains to look for a white doe.
A few months later, Winding River returned empty-handed and out of luck. Falling Rock had not been back for two years, and the tribe was getting worried. The chief decided to find Falling Rock and marry his daughter to him because of his bravery and persistence in finding a real life white doe. So he sent out search parties in the mountains to look for him.
All of the searches turned up empty. Falling Rock was never found. Legend has it that Falling Rock is still being searched for in the mountains today. That is why many road and trail signs say "Watch Out for Falling Rock." Next time you are in the mountains, be sure that if you see Falling Rock, you will show him the signs and remind him that there are people still looking for him back at his tribe, and that his bride awaits.
My rubber boots must be here somewhere.....
I'm figuring out why I fit in here; there are at least two of my favorite "old jokes" in this thread. Granted, the Falling Rock story my Dad taught me was a little different (the chief had three sons Running Water, Swift Arrow, and Falling Rock) and they were sent out for six months to see who would do the best, and become chief. Otherwise the story is the same and I still look for Falling rock. I almost found him driving the Feather River canyon on afternoon, but was fortunate enough to be able to dodge the pieces and not have them hit the truck.
Well Erik, you're just too smart for all of us. Have a Merry Christmas buddy. Enjoy your T.