Random Thoughts while Driving in Waco

By Jack Smith

I was thinking about something that happened "all of a sudden."

I wonder how “all of a sudden” came into use when “suddenly” is easier and shorter? And, I wonder, if something happens more slowly, could it be “part of a sudden” or maybe “half of a sudden”?

Well, I looked it up. “All of a sudden” was first used by Shakespeare in “The Taming of the Shrew,” which was written around 1590. Don’t know why he didn’t just say “suddenly.” I think William was kind of wordy.

The next question for inquiring minds: what is a shrew and why would you want to tame one? The first definition is a mouse-like mammal that lives underground and has several unusual features. It eats insects and other small animals and can be poisonous. It has a heart rate of 700 beats per minute, which is faster than a hummingbird’s. It can only go about 12 hours without eating or it will starve to death. A loud noise can scare them to death. I don’t think we have them in Central Texas. I’ve never seen one that I know of and don’t want to, and I’m sure you couldn’t tame one.

The second definition for shrew is “an ill-tempered, scolding woman.” I have seen some of these (even though I didn’t want to), and I’ll bet this is what Shakespeare wanted to tame. Good luck with that, Bill.

A new food — at least to me — is a slider. It’s basically a small burger or any other kind of sandwich made on a small slider roll. Why is it called a slider? It apparently came from the Navy where sailors said that their hamburgers were so greasy they slid around on the plate. I read that the White Castle hamburger chain introduced the small burgers in 1985. They were introduced to me in 2016. I’m a little slow. I like greasy burgers, but not so much that they slide.

I saw the term “legal tender” recently. I know that it means money, as in coins and paper bills. The word tender comes from a French word tendre meaning “to offer or extend.” I wonder whether counterfeit money should be called illegal tender or legal tough?

Vicki recently told me that I need some new trousers. I asked what the difference was between trousers and pants. She said trousers were less casual than pants. Who knows? She could be right. It’s happened before.

I prefer the name pants to trousers or britches or pantaloons. I’m pretty sure that Shakespeare wore trousers. The term slacks is OK, and slacks are probably less casual than pants. If I prefer slacks, does that make me a slacker?

Why are pants called a pair of pants? It’s really just one item of clothing. Is it because it has two legs? If you buy two pairs of pants, is that a quad of pants?

As you have no doubt heard, James Comey wrote a book about his experiences with Donald Trump. The media immediately dubbed it a “tell-all” book. My guess would be that he left some things out. It’s probably a “tell-some” book.

Looking back over my life, I have left some stones unturned.

A friend of mine frequently uses the idiom “six ways from Sunday.” If he is going to help you, he’s going to help you six ways from Sunday. It means in every way possible, but I can’t find out how it started. Six days (instead of ways) from Sunday would be Saturday, unless you go backward when it would be Monday. I know. Who cares?

IF I WERE KING: Shakespeare would have written about something more practical, like the taming of the zoo.