Why We Say: #11
Maybe this falls into the TMI category, but I wear socks at night. My tootsies get cold, and cold tootsies prevent a good night’s sleep. However, having cold feet and being accused of having cold feet have two very different meanings.
The scene: Two soldiers from the 19th century are standing around on the battlefront and they are freezing cold, like most soldiers in winter.
“So, Joe, are you as cold as I am?”
“Yeah, my nose is cold, my ear lobes are cold. I think my eyelashes are frozen.”
“Mine too. I think my toes are frozen.”
“You got cold feet? You should report that. I hear they’re letting us out if we got cold feet. Can’t fight if you’ve got cold feet, you know.”
“You’re right. Thanks for the tip. You know I could see how this could be considered an excuse for not standing your ground and fighting.”
“Yeah, I can see your point, Horace. Cold feet, cold courage. Whoa, look lively–incoming. Remind me to loan you a pair of extra socks. The missus sent me some handmade woolies in the last package.
“You’re a real buddy, Joe.”
“Don’t mention it.”
Well, maybe Joe and Horace could have had a similar conversation standing around in some frozen field as they stood around soldiering.
Cold feet. I still hear that expression today. That reluctance to do something because we are a bit nervous, or lack that needed chutzpah to grab the opportunity does seem to create a coldness in our extremities. I don’t think wool socks always is the solution either.