Friday, May 16, 2008

The Origin of "That really gets my goat"

For those of you who have never asked "what is VOIP?" I can say with most certainty you have also never asked "what is the origin of 'that really gets my goat'." Now I'm not saying that the two questions go hand in hand. Nay, I'm not suggesting that the absurdity of the latter brings shame and disgrace upon the former. It's just that there are folks who like to go deeper into normal every-day life and reflect on the strange and absurd. "Artists," I believe they are called.

No, I kid... I keed... I keeeed.

I, too am lumped together with those who would dare ask both of these questions. You, too, have joined me. An odd and fascinating thing, it is.

"That really gets my goat" jumped out of my mouth today. I proceeded, then, to make goat sounds while pulling my non-existent air-goat by its non-existent collar. What's worse is that I asked myself the question, "where did that phrase come from?" and worse yet, began to seek the answer.

A quick Google search turned up nothing beyond a number of references with people using it in blog titles, on web pages, etc. There was also a reference to the origin of the phrase - that it was "unknown." I thought, "who would go to these great lengths of research?" Ouch! I've been hit with the arrow of irony.

In all seriousness, let's explore the origin of this phrase.

The phrase dates back to the middle ages and a particular provincial ruler named Francis. During this time, business transactions were not conducted using paper and coins but using cattle, birds and various other animals. Francis had a large herd of goats (they are called "herds" aren't they?) Because Francis had so many goats, the peasants were constantly attempting to steal the goats from him.

Naturally, due to the actions of the peasants, Francis became quite angry and was prone to spontaneous outbursts. As the years went by Francis became known as around the town as the "crazy goat man." As tends to be the case the richer one gets, he became more and more attached to his amassing wealth. He would yell and scream when anything was taken from him.

This period of history was also identified by stark honesty. When silverware was taken from a party, it was not uncommon for the host or hostess to proclaim, "they took my silverware!" When dinner rolls were taken, "they took my dinner rolls!" Communication styles and terminology changed with the growing society and before long, leading with direct terms "they" and "he" and "you" was out of style. Thus, as the styles changed and due the type of theft from Francis, his choice phrase became, you guessed it, "that really gets my goat."

Fascinating, eh?

Best of all, Francis had a son. Yes, that's right. A young prodigy. Francis named him, "Goat boy."

I think that just about does it. You may want to check this out on your own. Well, have a good day.


adam said...

A minister in the Democratic Republic of Congo has ordered a Kinshasa jail to release a dozen goats, which he said were being held there illegally.Deputy Justice Minister Claude Nyamugabo said he found the goats just in time during a routine jail visit

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