Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Soup to nutters

Of the various phrases that people wield conversationally that just sort of bug me is soup to nuts.

I don't know if my disdain stems from the idea of someone teabagging my boston clam chowder or that the first person I knew who used it regularly was a royal douchebag. Eitherway I just am not a big fan.

I have, however, been curious to its origin. I knew for some odd, unexplainable reason that it was the title of the very first episode of the Three Stooges, but that seemed to have very little bearing on the context in which that phrase is used.

Thanks to some e-search, I discovered that the phrase references the progression of a typical middle eastern meal (or typical of a traditional meal at some point in time), which would begin with an appetizer consisting of some form of soup, a main course, and a dessert which often featured nuts. Thus the phrase reflects the full course of a meal, from beginning to end, and has extended to reflect the full course of action in whatever context it is used.

We had a catered lunch today and in addition to your typical plate of chocolate chip cookies was a platter of delicious treats from here.

You CAN NOT go wrong with those. Well maybe with the one flavored with rosewater.

In an odd measure of synchronicity some dropped the soup to nuts phrase following lunch, and I challenged them on whether or not they knew the origin, and they did not, so I had to drop some knowledge on they azz. Booya!

It makes me wonder how often people non-chalantly throw around words or phrases they have no clue of what they really mean, only a vague understanding of their context.

Probably more often than not.

Solomon Asch would further stress the importance of context as being equal to, if not greater than the social act which occurs therein. One of my favorite quotes of his states:

Most social acts have to be understood in their setting and lose meaning of isolated. No error in thinking about social facts is more serious than failure to see their place and function.

I like that. That's nice. Like reunite on ice.

Under that wise, wise saying I have a picture of that guy who jumped into the Lion's den in a zoo in Taipei to try and convert the lions into Christians but then got bitten.

I think there is some relevant connection there.

Or maybe that dude is just plain old school nutters.

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