After you have recovered from your chocolate bunny, jelly beans, and Peeps sugar overload, you may think that the April holidays are in the past.
According to the internet, several unusual themes are celebrated in the month of April including National Humor Month, Lawn and Garden Month, Keep America Beautiful Month, and of course, National Welding Month.
No one celebrates Tax Day (April 15). But there are lots of other obscure April days to celebrate in this spring-time month. April 17 is Bat Appreciation Day (baseball or vampire, not sure!). April 19 is National Garlic Day. April 23 is National English Muffin Day (really?). You get a choice of two things to celebrate on April 26 – National Pretzel Day and Hug an Australian Day (be careful, stay 6 feet apart!).
I was happy to learn that April 18 is Newspaper Columnists Day. How should I celebrate? I could stroll down the stationery aisles of a big box store or a local pharmacy and purchase new notepads. Perhaps I will treat myself to a pack of colorful Post-It Notes or maybe a new package of pens.
I like all kinds of writing supplies. Not paying attention a couple of weeks ago, I grabbed a pack of gel pens. I didn’t realize that the gel ink makes your handwriting look all shaky like the note scribbled inside old Aunt Harriet’s birthday card. I’ll stick with the regular ballpoint pens.
Calligraphy pens are fun, though. It takes a lot of practice to create those loopy Gothic-style letters and fancy curlicues. Now we have typeface fonts to print out without any practice sessions required.
Without even realizing it, I am always looking for new column ideas. Maybe something I hear on the news strikes my interest, or an item I read in People magazine. I ordered a book through the library system which sounded like it might be a great source of new material for my next column. The book contains “eleven thousand expressions to knock your socks off.”
I love playing around with words and using expressions and phrases from years ago. I anticipated finding the meanings and origins of some of the most well-known expressions in the English language. In the British expression, “Bob’s your uncle!” I wanted to know where that phrase came from and who is Bob? In the commonplace expression that parents and teachers used to use, “What’s the matter, cat got your tongue?” I wanted to learn where in the world that phrase originated and what ever happened to the kid and the cat?
To my chagrin, the new book only lists the expressions in alphabetical order. But I want to know country of origin, meaning and time period. I guess I will just have to rely on Google for that information.
According to Wikipedia, the phrase, “Bob’s your uncle!” was first used in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The expression means, “there you have it!” to conclude a simple explanation. The phrase is attributed to a surprising and unpopular act of nepotism when Conservative Prime Minister Robert (Bob) Gascoyne-Cecil, the third Marquess of Salisbury, appointed his nephew, Arthur Balfour, as chief secretary for Ireland in 1887. I never knew that!
Another internet source credits the expression, “cat got your tongue?” to ancient Egypt. Heavy-handed authorities severely punished liars and blasphemers by cutting out their tongues to render them speechless and tossing the tongues to feral cats! Now that expression paints quite a vivid picture!
Kim Kovach enjoys learning about old expressions from around the world, American slang from the 1920s and 1930s, and making up a few new phrases. kimkovachwrites.com