Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Load of Horse Manure: Environmental Slang of Old West

Attempting to contain my use of a vulgar saying, I sometimes say it in my head.  The old saying, "That's a load of horse 'manure'" came to mind the other day while I was outside running and saw several piles of the stuff in somebody's yard.  I wondered at the origins of this saying and thought back to the bygone days when horses were the method of travel.  Horses smell, as does their manure.  Imagine your busiest highway clogged with horses instead of cars.  Now imagine what that highway would smell and look like.  Thank God for cars.

And I'm sure in the days of the west, there also existed a group of people that would use the environment as a means of affecting life.  Perhaps the environmentalist of the day coined the phrase as a means of demeaning the prevalent mode of travel for the day.  So now let's fast forward to today.  Since most of us are no where near horses or their manure, shouldn't we retire this phrase and take up one that is more relevant.  Perhaps we should be saying, "That's a ton of car exhaust."   Or maybe, "What a load of CO2".   Next time you find yourself needing to use an expletive, try a new one out.

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