Squat - revisited

Rick Kennerly rick at MOUSEHERDER.COM
Mon May 27 16:09:45 UTC 2002

This afternoon, reading through the Smithsonian, March 2002, p. 50, in an
article about pigeon racing called Flights of Fancy I found this:

"Back to the cell phone.  'Yo, you heard? Bert & Harry got one at 2:16.  I
ain't kidding. Nobody else got squat.  I haven't seen a feather.'"  The
speaker is waiting for his racing birds to fly in to NYC from West Virginia.

I've always equated squat with a genteel euphemism shit.  One can certainly
interchange the two in most usages and convey the same meaning--nothing
valuable or a degree less than valuable.  Paired with piddly (piddly-squat,
a favorite exclamation of disappoint my mother uses), squat is a rather
graphic bathroom image that evokes nothing worth having or keeping.

The phrase "I got squat" is reminiscent of  "I could care less", both ironic
positive constructions of the negative condition ("I ain't got squat"; "I
couldn't care less.").


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