"Don't shit where you eat"

Beverly Flanigan flanigan at OHIO.EDU
Fri Jul 6 21:08:23 UTC 2007

At 04:46 PM 7/6/2007, you wrote:
>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>Poster:       Barbara Need <nee1 at MIDWAY.UCHICAGO.EDU>
>Subject:      Re: "Don't shit where you eat"
>At 23:11 -0400 03/7/07, sagehen wrote:
> >  >Sorry for the crude title.
> >>
> >>Has anyone searched to find out what the earliest version of this must
> >>have been?  I would doubt that it was that phrasing.
> >>
> >>Anyone suggest what the original sentiment might have been?
> >>
> >>Sam Clements
> >  ~~~~~~~~~~
> >I remember reading about the Essenes or some similar group --  associated
> >with the Dead Sea Scrolls, perhaps? -- that had strictures concerning the
> >roles of the two hands: the one that went into the communal pot at mealtime
> >would never be the one that wiped one's bottom.   Whether the left was the
> >"clean" and the right the "unclean" I don't remember, but I believe the
> >roles were immutable.
> >AM
>I remember a month-long Sunday school sequence on the Arab world
>(mid-70s, Unitarian Church) in which we were instructed to eat with
>the right hand (no utensils!) because the left hand was traditionally
>used to wipe oneself.
>Barbara Need
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

Still true for Muslims.  If I'm holding something in my right hand and
unthinkingly shake hands with a Muslim student with my left hand, I
immediately know I've committed a faux pas from the look on the face of my

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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