Sunday, March 17, 2019
English idioms are strange beasts but among the strangest are the 'sh!t'-based sayings. 'Sh!t faced', 'sh!thead' (one word, thank you), 'sh!tty attitude', 'dumb sh!t', 'sh!t storm', 'bull sh!t', 'bat-sh!t crazy', 'ape-sh!t' and one of my personal faves, 'sh!t fit'.
'He had a real sh!t fit.' Really? Is that what you get when you combine an epileptic seizure with sudden unexpected explosive diarrhea? Yikes.
But we have gathered here today to ponder a classic sh!t-based idiom, 'sh!t-eating grin'. In your imagination, go back into the mists of ancient history and put yourself in a conversation where the phrase 'sh!t-eating grin' was appropriate. Are you inside or outside? If inside, what room are you in? Who's grinning? And why, exactly, are they wearing that 'sh!t-eating grin'?
On a more practical level, imagine the immigrant to the US who's grasp of English is limited. They're sitting in a job interview and feeling happy that the interview seems to be going so well. They've got this one all sewn up! (So to speak). Then the interviewer, being friendly and knowing what the applicant is thinking, smiles and says 'That's a real sh!t-eating grin you got there!'
If the applicant knows what each word means...'Hey! What's this guy saying?!'
Sometimes it's amazing to me that we're able to communicate at all.
BTW, credit for putting this sh!t into my mind goes to George Carlin. AM/FM, Class Clown, Toledo Window Box...one of those. Good sh!t.