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Where did Pi$$ Poor come from?


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Someone sent me some interesting history on the origins of common terms:

 

Where did Piss Poor come from?

Interesting History..............

 

They used to use urine to tan animal skins, so families used to all pee in apot and then once a day it was taken and sold to the tannery....... if you hadto do this to survive you were "Piss Poor."

But worse than that were the really poor folk who couldn't even afford to buy apot....... they "didn't have a pot to piss in" and were the lowest ofthe low.

The next time you are washing your hands and complain because the watertemperature isn't just how you like it, think about how things used tobe. Here are some facts about the 1500s:

Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May, andthey still smelled pretty good by June. However, since they were startingto smell.......

Brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor. Hence thecustom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the househad the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men,then the women and finally the children. Last of all the babies. Bythen the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it... Hence thesaying, "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water!"

Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no woodunderneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all thecats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When itrained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off theroof... Hence the saying "It's raining cats and dogs."

There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This poseda real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess up yournice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the topafforded some protection. That's how canopy beds came into existence.

The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying, "Dirt poor." The wealthy had slate floorsthat would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw)on floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they addedmore thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slippingoutside. A piece of wood was placed in the entrance-way. Hence: athresh hold..

(Getting quite an education, aren't you?)

In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that alwayshung over the fire... Every day they lit the fire and added things to thepot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. Theywould eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get coldovernight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in itthat had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme: Peas porridgehot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old. Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. Itwas a sign of wealth that a man could, "bring home the bacon." They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around andchew the fat.

Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid contentcaused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoningdeath. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 yearsor so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.

Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom ofthe loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or the uppercrust.

Lead cups were used to drink ale or whiskey. The combination wouldsometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walkingalong the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial. Theywere laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family wouldgather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up. Hence the custom of holding a wake.

England is old and small and the local folks started running out of places tobury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to abone-house, and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out of25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realizedthey had been burying people alive. So they would tie a string on thewrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground andtie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard allnight (the graveyard shift) to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be,saved by the bell or was considered a dead ringer.

And that's the truth....... Now, whoever said History was boring?!!!

 

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Eating desirable cuts other than the lights or bacon meant you were eating "High on the Hog"

 

 

"He shi**ing in tall cotton" meant his crop was tall enough to hide him while doing his business and became a euphemism for someone who was prosperous. Much like being able to eat high on the hog.

 

I never heard of using urine to tan hides but do remember reading that it was saved and collected to extract the nitrates necessary to make gunpowder in the South.

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This appears quite frequently. But based on the ones I know to be wrong, I suspect all the others are also.

 

A boxing round lasts three minutes. The round is started and stopped by ringing a bell. If you are knocked to the canvas, the referee starts counting. If he gets to "ten" before you get up, you have lost the match. If, however, at the count of "nine", the bell rings, ending the round, then your handlers can come out and pick you up and take you back to your corner. They have one minute to get you up and around before the next round starts. Because the bell rang before you could be counted out, you were "saved by the bell". If you were not "saved by he bell", you were "down for the count".

 

The "Little Ice Age" ran from the 16th to the 19th Century. It as COLD. Several types of furniture were invented, because of this. One was the ottoman, or footstool. Because cold air sinks, the floor was the coldest part of the room. Wing chairs, with their side panels, helped to keep your body heat close to you, instead of it radiating into the cold room. Beds were designed with roofs and side curtains, again, to keep your body heat in. Remember Scrooge, with the 3rd ghost? Seeing people sell off his stuff. One woman had his bed curtains, with the gold rings.

 

People that lived in huts with thatched roofs and dirt floors did not have canopy beds. They cost too much money.

 

People would go outside, to use the outhouse. At night this was not liked, as it was colder and it was dark. People would use a vessel called a "chamber pot". Then in the daytime they would take the pot out and dump it. Some people kept the pot under the bed. Some had a special piece of furniture that the pot was kept in. This piece of furniture was called a commode. If you were really poor, then you could not afford a chamber pot. You did not have a pot to pee in.

 

Most people did not take baths, yearly or not. Bathing was considered dangerous. You could get sick from doing that. Mostly folks would just wash their hands and face. Anything else was hidden under their clothes anyway, so what did it matter?

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Eating desirable cuts other than the lights or bacon meant you were eating "High on the Hog"

 

 

"He shi**ing in tall cotton" meant his crop was tall enough to hide him while doing his business and became a euphemism for someone who was prosperous. Much like being able to eat high on the hog.

 

I never heard of using urine to tan hides but do remember reading that it was saved and collected to extract the nitrates necessary to make gunpowder in the South.

 

It is still being used for tanning in Mexico. If you buy cheap gun leather down there . . . and wear it to a shoot ... and it RAINS and the stuff gets WET .... you will find out :):blink:

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I've been burned by passing on good stories on the web and then finding out that they were false.

I looked up Piss Poor on Snopes. Has nothing to do with tanneries etc. Just a good story.

 

http://www.snopes.com/language/phrases/wagon.asp

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It is still being used for tanning in Mexico. If you buy cheap gun leather down there . . . and wear it to a shoot ... and it RAINS and the stuff gets WET .... you will find out :):blink:

 

It was also used as a mordant for dies.

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I have a book titled, "Living the Old West Life.'

 

 

In it, the book lists just about all the trades one could find in the old west.

 

And the leather tanning taughts how to make buckshin, how to smoke the hides and that urine was used.

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I was raised with this meaning: He aint got a pot to piss in nor a window to throw it out of....

 

 

Chamber pot....

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