Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

Archive for the tag “deer”

Backyard Visitor

Why We Say #17: Getting it all said and done

What with National Poetry Month and school letting out, and getting ready for my Hamlet trip, I realize I’m remiss in getting out another edition of “Why We Say,” which is a look into the background of those words and phrases that are part of our everyday vernacular.

Why we say: A guidebook to current idioms…

Today’s chapter is all about “getting”:

1. Getting the sack

I’m glad when I go to work everything is pretty much set up for me. I wouldn’t want to lug around desks, books, whiteboards, markers, paper, computers–wow, there’s a lot involved in being a teacher. Although being a trades mechanic around 300 years ago meant I came to work toting my own tools in a sack. If the boss didn’t like my work he’d tell me to get the sack, which meant “Hit the road, Jack.”

2. Getting the third degree

Note: I am getting this down low on the low down about police procedures from this quaint second hand book. Please don’t accuse me of sterotyping, perpetuating urban myths, or promoting wrong ideas. This is a Cyndi Lauper exercise of just wanting to have some fun.

So when someone says, “Did you get the third degree?” you’ll know that it comes from [supposed] police techniques of the first degree being arrested, the second degree getting confined, and then getting reaching the third degree of being roughly questioned. Puts this saying into a different perspective. I’ll be looking for it when watching my next detective show. It guess this goes right along with third degree burn.
3. Getting into a scrape

Who knew deer could be devious? During certain times of the season, deer are known to dig out indentations in the ground to rest in. If someone isn’t watching where he is going he could fall into one of these antler scraped pits. I wouldn’t think so dearly of them deeries after nearly breaking my ankle from the whole hole.

And in summary–a really bad day, back in the day would involve getting the third degree about getting the sack, after getting into a scrape.

Why We Say: #13

Today we learn about earning our salt, eating humble pie, and listening in on conversations.

“He’s worth his salt.”
“Oh, she earned her salt today, that’s for sure.”

Hear of these expressions? If so, then you know it’s in reference to someone who is worth the amount of money they are being paid. In fact, the word “salary” is derived from the Latin word “salarium” which refers to the old Roman practice of providing soldiers their daily salt allowance. A soldier earning his salt ration was earning his keep.

This soldier is looking forward to his salting his paycheck away for a rainy day.image: morguefile




Have you ever had to eat humble pie? You know what I’m talking about–that moment when you’ve been humiliated or had to admit you were wrong. Not a great feeling, but it beats having to eat real humble pie, which is actually the “umbles” or the liver and organs of deer. Yummy–right? Yup, back in the day when English noblemen trotted around bagging deer while hunting, they saved the best for themselves and left the less desirable umbles for the servants. The servants wanting to make their leftovers a bit more tasty would pack the dear bits of deer into a pie. I suppose it would be rather humbling to eat this culinary fare.

“I wonder if Radio would be saying ‘Where my pie?'” on this flavor of the day?” image:morguefile


Eavesdropping has taken on a more sophisticated form of listening these days due to the Internet and its penchant for hacking in on conversations. Yet, in the way old days, going back to England, a law existed where houses had to have enough room for the eaves to drip on the owner’s property. It was quite easy to stand in these spaces under the eaves to listen in on inside conversations. People got the inside scoop by being outsiders. Not much has changed, has it?

Not everyone is interested in the wayward tidbit that comes floating by. image: morguefile


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