Lauren Krueger & Matthew David Brozik

Take it or leave it. Or both.

In Definally on June 27, 2011 at 10:00 am

Maggie C. of Chappaqua writes, “Finally, I have found someone who can explain why people say I’m going to take a leak [or any one of a number of other excretory things]. But they aren’t taking anything. They are leaving something. Please discourse and/or edify.”

Was it Khalil Gibran or George Carlin who famously quipped, “You don’t take a shit, you leave a shit. That’s the whole idea! To leave it!” …? Indeed, this is a troubling construction… and its origins can not be attributed to a bent for euphemism. (“I have to see a man about a horse” is a euphemism; “I have to take a crap” is not.)

So whence this notion of seemingly acquiring something when one is actually lightening one’s load, so to speak? Definally. has a suspicion that this is a very American phenomenon. Because Americans are a people of action. We take action! (Rather than, say, acting.) We take everything, in fact. We don’t shower (or bathe); we take showers (and baths). We don’t rest; we take breaks (or we take five… or even ten!). Other, lesser peoples simply travel, but Americans take trips, vacations, journeys! We are a greedy, greedy nation. We take, take, take.

Even when we leave something: Everybody poops; Americans take them.

Ironically, however, we also don’t take shit from anyone. In conclusion, America is a land of contrasts.


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