Throw a Monkey Wrench (1910); The Man Upstairs (1948)

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Mon Sep 2 00:35:34 UTC 2002

   Just checking some "m" terms with the revised OED.  Please do not throw a monkey wrench at the Man Upstairs.


   OED has 1920?
   In the article below, Charles F. Scott, Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives, suggests throwing a monkey wrench at the stock market.

   3 April 1910, NEW YORK TIMES, pg. SM5:
   "All the Congressmen realize that these Exchanges are necessary for the business of the country, and I know there is not a man in the House but would hesitate to throw the monkey wrench into these great machines--machines that have taken forty or fifty years to build.  But one of these fine days some one is going to throw that monkey wrench, for these Exchanges become mere gambling machines."


   OED has this under "upstairs," not "man"?  Its first citation is CATCH-22 (1961) by Joseph Heller, but it probably dates back to WWII.
   I was hoping for a Woman Upstairs.

   22 August 1948, NEW YORK TIMES, pg. BR11:
   Mr. McDougall says that the only thing that sustained him and kept him going through the hours in the water was the counsel he received from "the man upstairs."  During those hours his God--for whom he seldom uses that word--became something very personal and very near to him.
(A review of the book SIX BELLS OFF JAVA by William H. McDougall Jr.--ed.)

   19 March 1955, NEW YORK TIMES, pg. 35:
   "That is why so many people crave religion of escape, why we have so much juke box religion with its silly shallow sentimentalities of 'Are You Friends With the King of Friends?' or 'Have You Talked With the Man Upstairs?' and 'I Believe, I Believe.'
   "We seem to have a naive faith in the indulgent good naturedness of the Man Upstairs, and an equally naive faith in the magic of believing, no matter in what or in whom we believe."

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