Biting the Bullet during The Dog Days of Summer
So, the “Dog Days of Summer” are officially upon us here at The Storage Inn in Egg Harbor Township New Jersey. It’s been extremely hot and humid as we head out of July and into August. The “Dog Days of Summer” thing was brought up to me by one of our storage space customers who also happens to be into astrology.
I always assumed that this saying referred to the weather being so hot that even the family dog did not want to move out of his resting spot. But, Cindy, our astrological self storage client, informed me that the “dog days of summer” are the hot, sultry days of summer that coincide with the heliacal rising of the star Sirius (also known as the dog star) from late July to late August.
This got me to thinking about all of the sayings that we use, but probably have no idea where they came from.
So being the detective that I am, I decided to investigate a few popular sayings.
“Bite the Bullet”
Meaning: Accepting something difficult or unpleasant
History: There was no time to administer anesthesia before emergency surgery during battle. The surgeon made patients bite down on a bullet in an attempt to distract them from the pain.
“Break the Ice”
Meaning: To commence a project or initiate a friendship
History: Before the days of trains or cars, port cities that thrived on trade suffered during the winter because frozen rivers prevented commercial ships from entering the city. Small ships known as “icebreakers” would rescue the icebound ships by breaking the ice and creating a path for them to follow. Before any type of business arrangement today, it is now customary to “break the ice” before beginning a project.
“Butter him/her Up”
Meaning: To flatter someone
History: An ancient Indian custom involved throwing balls of clarified butter at statues of the gods to seek favor.
“Caught Red Handed”
Meaning: To be caught doing something wrong
History: This saying originated because of a law. If someone butchered an animal that didn’t belong to him, he had to be caught with the animal’s blood on his hands to be convicted. Being caught with freshly cut meat did not make the person guilty.
Give him/her “The Cold Shoulder”
Meaning: A rude way of telling someone he isn’t welcome
History: Although giving someone the cold shoulder today is considered rude, it was actually regarded as a polite gesture in medieval England. After a feast, the host would let his guests know it was time to leave by giving them a cold piece of meat from the shoulder of beef, mutton, or pork.
Meaning: To quit something abruptly
History: People believed that during withdrawal, the skin of drug addicts became translucent, hard to the touch, and covered with goose bumps – like the skin of a plucked turkey.
“Kick the Bucket”
Meaning: To die
History: When a cow was killed at a slaughterhouse, a bucket was placed under it while it was positioned on a pulley. Sometimes the animal’s legs would kick during the adjustment of the rope and it would literally kick the bucket before being killed.
“No Spring Chicken”
Meaning: Someone who is past his prime
History: New England chicken farmers generally sold chickens in the spring, so the chickens born in the springtime yielded better earnings than the chickens that survived the winter. Sometimes, farmers tried to sell old birds for the price of a new spring chicken. Clever buyers complained that the fowl was “no spring chicken,” and the term came to represent anyone past their prime.
“Rule of Thumb”
Meaning: A common, ubiquitous benchmark
History: Legend has it that 17th century English Judge Sir Francis Buller ruled it was permissible for a husband to beat his wife with a stick, given that the stick was no wider than his thumb.
“Saved by the Bell”
Meaning: Rescued from an unwanted situation
History: As scary as it sounds, being buried alive was once a common occurrence. People who feared succumbing to such a fate were buried in special coffins that connected to a bell above ground. At night, guards listened for any bells in case they had to dig up a living person and save them “by the bell.”
Meaning: Sleep well
History: During Shakespeare’s time, mattresses were secured on bed frames by ropes. In order to make the bed firmer, one had to pull the ropes to tighten the mattress.
So in conclusion, let me Break The Ice by inviting you to visit The Storage Inn for all of your self storage and packing needs. We promise not to give you The Cold Shoulder, and may even Butter You Up a bit – and if you rent from us, you’ll be able to Sleep Tight, knowing that all of your items are safe & secure!!
Enjoy the rest of your summer!!