a case (You're gonna have yourself a case)

Neal Whitman nwhitman at AMERITECH.NET
Sat Mar 15 20:07:39 UTC 2008

Apologies for the multiple posting. My finger slipped as I was pasting in
the blockquote.

As I was saying, a writer on "I Am Not the Beatles" wonders about this use
of 'case', too:

He would prefer it if I fucked his wife ?

It seems so, yes. Apparently you can have her as frequently as you wish -
and simultaneously quite openly ogle his daughter as much as you like if the
mood so takes you. But if you as much as touch her throughout this whole
wife fucking process, you have crossed a very serious line in Sidney's book
and. you're gonna have yourself a case.

'Have myself a case?'. Is that yet another tedious colloquial Cajun
expression ?

No. It just rhymes with I'm gonna break your face.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Neal Whitman" <nwhitman at ameritech.net>
To: "American Dialect Society" <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
Sent: Saturday, March 15, 2008 4:04 PM
Subject: Re: a case (You're gonna have yourself a case)

> An unusual use of 'case' that I've wondered about:
>    Now you can look as much,
>    But if you much as touch,
>    You're gonna have yourself a case:
>    I'm gonna break your face.
>    ("(Don't Mess With) My Toot-Toot", Rockin' Sidney, 1984)
> The verse is interesting otherwise for its telegraphic wording: "You can
> look as much [as you want], but if you [so] much as touch [my toot-toot]".
> I gather that 'case' means "a whole mess of trouble", but don't know where
> that meaning comes from. The song is a zydeco piece, so maybe this is some
> kind of Louisiana regionalism.
> A writer on the blog "I Am Not the Beatles" wonders about this, too:
> Neal Whitman
> Email: nwhitman at ameritech.net
> Blog: http://literalminded.wordpress.com
> Webpage: http://literalmindedlinguistics.com
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Benjamin Barrett" <gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM>
> Sent: Saturday, March 15, 2008 4:51 AM
> Subject: Re: a case ???
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail
>> header -----------------------
>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Poster:       Benjamin Barrett <gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM>
>> Subject:      Re: a case  ???
>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> Some possibilities that come to mind are "write off" (some sort of
>> nineteenth century accounting jargon essentially means "a loss"),
>> "case for the police" and "case for the in-house scam books" where the
>> pawn shop keeps a log of such incidents or people. Another is crazy (a
>> case for the looney bins?). A final possibility is that "case" is
>> jargon for a certain type of container that is associated with a loss,
>> such as a box full of stones that sinks.
>> Probably far-fetched speculation, in the hopes that something rings a
>> bell with someone.
>> HTH
>> Benjamin Barrett
>> a cyberbreath for language life
>> livinglanguages.wordpress.com
>> On Mar 14, 2008, at 6:42 PM, George Thompson wrote:
>>> I don't see a meaning for the word "case" in HDAS or Cassell's that
>>> fits this without some heavy wrenching and squeezing.  Here it is
>>> used to mean "a loss".
>>> This is from a novel published in 1836.  (The author was a prominent
>>> newspaper editor -- you've met him before.)  The scene is a
>>> pawnshop.  A young man enters: he's a regular, coming in to pawn the
>>> same gold watch and chain, redeeming it when he's flush.  This time
>>> he's in a hurry, says to the pawnbroker, give me the usual for
>>> this.  The pawnbroker hands him money, he rushes out.  The
>>> pawnbroker looks at the watch, sees that instead of a gold chain,
>>> this time the chain is gilded brass, rushes out after him.  He
>>> returns, saying:
>>> "Ah it's no use,: he said, "he's got off clear by this time, and my
>>> thirty dollars is a case."
>>> William Leete Stone, Ups and Downs in the Life of a Distressed
>>> Gentleman, 1836, p. 191
>>> GAT
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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