Thursday, September 16, 2010

Egg on my what?

Someone has made a slight mistake, his cheeks redden. Someone yells, "You've got egg on your face!"

That scenario is completely hypothetical though, because let's be honest here, has anyone, I mean on the entire planet we call Earth, ever heard someone actually utter those words? Seriously? If anyone is nodding yes right now, I want proof.

Like maybe, in the written form (though anyone who would actually write those same words out should maybe seek a reality check to the real world...or just smacked, either one) you may have seen the ridiculous statement.

"Egg on my face" Really? What the...? Who even thought of something so inane?

Well, I looked it up...I just had to. It was that or clean the house. Curiousity of the completely meaningless won out.

Okay, seems this mess of a phrase was conceived by, and I quote from a firecracker of a website called excitingly enough, World Wide Words (Insert yawn here):

"It eels like one of those expressions that have been around for ever, but the evidence suggest that it dates only from the middle of last century. It’s definitely American in origin, though now widely known wherever English is spoken.
I know of two suggestions for where it came from. The late John Ciardi suggested an origin in the lower-class and more rowdy kind of theatrical performance, in which an incompetent actor would have been pelted with eggs and forced off the stage. The other is that it was a comment on a minor social gaffe at a meal, when poor manners or sloppy eating left egg around your mouth.
As so often the origin is obscure but this newspaper story suggests that the latter is more likely, and that it began as US teenage slang:
A peek at the script turned up these gems, which Jane says are in the vocabulary of most any 15-year-old these days: “Hold your lava, Vesuvius!” (To a talkative friend). “There I was — with egg on my face!” (describing embarrassment).
The Bee (Danville, Virginia), 27 Aug. 1941."*

Hmmm...the pelted with eggs theory. I like your style John Ciardi. In history though ('cause I looked this up to, I'll do anything to avoid actual work) egg throwing was usually done in religious or political debates, or in the case of bad acting. Now making a mistake is a far cry from those examples, but who am I to judge how ridiculous idioms are formed. Especially one NO ONE USES!

On that note, I will never read THE BEE, just on principle alone.

Okay, so there is my rant of the day. Be well, and for goodness sake, wash your face after eating, just in case.

*A slight typo has occurred within my quote which unless I am willing to re-type the entire thing, the program will not let me fix it. Hence, the all-knowing footnote. The second word in that awe-inspiring quote from World Wide Words (yawn....sorry, that title just makes my crave a pillow) is "feels", but if you haven't already figured that out, I'm not even sure I care enough about you to have even inserted this damned footnote.

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