"Sometimes you eat the bear..." (1904); "Tools of Ignorance"
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SOMETIMES YOU EAT THE BEAR, AND SOMETIMES THE BEAR EATS YOU
Sometimes, you eat the bear; sometimes, the bear eats you.
YOU EAT THE BEAR--1,530 Google hits, 4,870 Google Groups hits
BEAR EATS YOU--693 Google hits, 2,340 Google Groups hits
Or, as Carole King used to sing. "sometimes you win, sometimes you lose."
Where does this come from? These searches aren't easy. You can replace
"eat" with "hunt" and "get." It goes back at least 100 years.
I don't know about Fred Shapiro's bear collection.
(PROQUEST HISTORICAL NEWSPAPERS)
Some Heartbreaks Are Relined
By JOHN S. RADOSTA Special to The New York Times. New York Times
(1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Feb 21, 1973. p. 93 (1 page) :
DAYTONE BEACH, Fla., Feb. 28--"Some days you eat the bear," Bobby Allison
was saying, "and some days the bear eats you. "
Hunting: Some Days You Eat the Bear, Some Days --
BY ANGUS PHILLIPS. The Washington Post (1974-Current file). Washington, D.C.:
Dec 7, 1979. p. W45 (1 page)
Indiana Democrat - 12/14/1904
...SOMETIMES you bunt THE BEAR, and SOMETIMES THE BEAR hunts you and oace
in.....him rope and turned off sideways. THE BEAR went to THE end of THE forty
Indiana, Pennsylvania Wednesday, December 14, 1904 828 k
New Oxford Item - 1/13/1905
...SOMETIMES you hunt THE BEAR, and SOMETIMES THE BEAR hunts and once in
a.....At one end of THE cabin a brown BEAR paced ceaselessly to and fro with..
New Oxford, Pennsylvania Friday, January 13, 1905 619 k
Walla Walla Union Bulletin - 5/31/1976
...later put it, "SOMETIMES THE BEAR eats you and SOMETIMES you eat THE
.....and he would have come out-loaded for BEAR. It would have been a heck of a..
Walla Walla, Washington Monday, May 31, 1976 651 k
Lincoln Star - 5/31/1976
...Indy INDIANAPOLIS (AP) "SOMETIMES THE BEAR eats you and SOMETIMES you eat
THE.....That's just THE way things work out SOMETIMES. "I feel sorry for A.
Lincoln, Nebraska Monday, May 31, 1976 599 k
Frederick Post - 5/14/1984
...YOU eat the BEAR, and sometimes the BEAR EATS YOU." Storm Davis,
3-0.....Knights finished no lower than fifth. "YOU've got to have the numbers in
Frederick, Maryland Monday, May 14, 1984 766 k
Mountain Democrat - 7/28/1989
...SOMETIMES you eat THE BEAR, and SOMETIMES THE BEAR eats you. THE BEAR
.....see THE shots people take on TV, and SOMETIMES it's tough to get up from..
Placerville, California Friday, July 28, 1989 516 k
Chronicle Telegram - 12/12/1994
...year, SOMETIMES you eat THE BEAR, and SOMETIMES THE BEAR eats you. Today,
THE.....THE Oilers. After taking THE brunt of THE criticism for THE loss
Elyria, Ohio Monday, December 12, 1994 663 k
Mountain Democrat - 9/12/1997
...HILLS SOME DAYS you eat THE BEAR SOME DAYS THE BEAR eats you. Monday THE
Oak.....THE truth. It is true that THEre are SOME really fast runners out THEre
Placerville, California Friday, September 12, 1997 526 k
Wellsboro Gazette - 5/26/1999
...SOMETIMES you get THE BEAR, and SOMETIMES THE BEAR gets Mansfield
coach.....one hit." THE only hit of THE game for THE Tigers came in THE bottom of THE
Wellsboro, Pennsylvania Wednesday, May 26, 1999 509 k
Gettysburg Times - 2/3/2003
...win. "SOMETIMES you eat THE BEAR and SOMETIMES THE BEAR eats said
Hefner.....cut THE lead to 59-56 with left. Dana BEAR hit a runner in THE lane and THE
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania Monday, February 03, 2003 711 k
From: David Clasky (dclasky at mail.mia.hellsouth.net)
Subject: "...eat the bear..."
This is the only article in this thread
View: Original Format
In my signature file the quote "Sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes the
bear eats you" is attributed to William Faulkner. Many people have told me
that the quote is from someone else, and they have given theories ranging from
Joan Armatrading to Star Trek! I've also heard it attributed to Stephen
Stills. I originally heard it from my father, who heard it from a drill sergeant
in the army in 1956. Thedrill sergeant never attributed it to anyone. Does
anyone out there know who said this? Thanks.
Sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes the bear eatsyou." - William
TOOLS OF IGNORANCE
I was going through Grant Barrett's wonderful site (a food word posted
today is one that I'd previously posted here on ADS-L). I like the term "tools
of ignorance," but I can't beat the 1936 Newspaperarchive hit.
tools of ignorance n. a baseball catcher’s mask, shin guards, and chest
1936 Arcadia Tribune (Calif.) (May 2) “Breadmen to Face Locals” p. 1: Leroy
Zimmerman, star local high school graduate, will perform on the mound for the
Corpe squad with Max Purcell donning the tools of ignorance to handle his
slants. 2003 Vince Staten Why Is The Foul Pole Fair? (Apr. 1) p. 266: Bresnahan’s
shin guards were the final pieces of the “tools of ignorance,” that great
descriptive phrase for the catcher’s equipment. There are conflicting stories
about who came up with that wonderful monker: Some sources credit Herold “Muddy”
Ruel, a Senators catcher who caught for Walter Johnson and later became a
lawyer. The more likely—and earlier—story, from the “Diamond Jargon” column in
the August 1939 issue of Baseball Magazine accepts Yankee catcher Bill Dickey
as the true author. Dickey supposedly coined the term while donning his gear
and brooding over why anyone would want to be a catcher in July heat. I like
the Dickey story because it was published sixteen years before the Ruel claim.
2004 [White] toolsOfIgnorance (Monrovia, Calif.) (May 14) “Howdy”: The term “
tools of ignorance” is my 2nd favorite baseball colloquialism.
8 August 1940, THE SPORTING NEWS, pg. 2, col. 1:
So, on his own suggestion, James Emory Foxx, the finest all-round player in
baseball, donned the "tools of ignorance," as players refer to the chest
protector, mask and big mitt, on July 31, and became first-string catcher of the
6 April 1944, THE SPORTING NEWS, pg. 3, col. 1:
"Players call the catcher's armor the 'tools of ignorance,'" Ferrell
continued. "Outfielders contend that no one in their senses would clutter
themselves up with a mask, a heavy chest protector and weigh down their legs with shin
guards. All of this when the mercury is trying to climb out of the top of
the tube, and those outfielders are on vacation, waiting for something to
(PROQUEST HISTORICAL NEWSPAPERS)
THE SPORTS X-RAY
BOB RAY. Los Angeles Times (1886-Current File). Los Angeles, Calif.: Mar 27,
1937. p. A11 (1 page) :
Ball players call a catcher's paraphernalia "the tools of ignorance."
Supposition is that a guy must be ignoranct ever to tackle such a tough job as
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