fall off the wagon used backwards

Mark A. Mandel mamandel at LDC.UPENN.EDU
Sat Aug 13 05:43:15 UTC 2005

Here's an exchange from an interview
(http://www.scifi.com/sfw/issue224/interview.html), in which the interviewer
uses "fall off the wagon" to mean 'lose a habit; fall out of a customary
behavior', exactly opposite in direction to its usual meaning of "break a
vow [of sobriety]". The interviewee, sf author Steven K.Z. Brust, takes it
in the meaning evidently intended, but I don't take that as proof that he
would have interpreted it that way if the context hadn't been so obvious.


Q: What about music? Do you still perform?

Brust: No, I don't spend any time performing. I just found out that here in
Vegas there's a coffee shop with an open stage. I was there, and the people
playing were bad enough that I could go in and look good. So I might try
that, for the hell of it.

Q: Do you still practice, or have you completely fallen off the wagon?

Brust: Not completely. But not very much. I play little things, take out the
drum and play that, haul out the guitar and the banjo occasionally. Of
course, when I go to a convention, I can't go without bringing a couple of
instruments. It's who I am, I guess. That's what I like to do at


-- Mark A. Mandel

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