Saturday, May 27, 2017
PISS AND VINEGAR
A Facebook friend recently posted that her grandmother used to say that she was "full of piss and vinegar"; she wondered about the origin. My mother also used that phrase. I have written previously that Mother would oftentimes use "indelicate" language.
The Free Dictionary provides this description: "Although many speakers assume that the phrase has a negative connotation, it is often used as a compliment, because vinegar is an old slang term for enthusiastic energy."
Many people use the more polite term "pith and vinegar" but that makes it lose its flavor. Oops! "lose its flavor"-- that's an almost unintentional play on words-- flavor/vinegar. To keep with the flavorful connotation I could have written that Mother's language was "salty" or "spicy" which would be more accurate than "indelicate" language.
Whenever Mother would use language that we thought was unbecoming, we would ask, "Would Donna Reed talk like that?" The Donna Reed Show had Donna Reed portray Donna Stone, the embodiment of the perfect mother/housewife of the the 1960's.
During our "Montgomery Clift Movie Festival", my brother and I were watching From Here To Eternity and when Donna Reed demonstrated less-than-perfection as her character as a "lady of the night", Les piped up, "Would Donna Stone act like that?" I said, "She didn't win the Academy Award for It's A Wonderful Life but she did for that performance!"