196 years o' braggin'

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Fri Aug 7 21:44:36 UTC 2009

 What follows was drafted in the summer of 2004, but never sent so far as I
can tell. The phone must have rung or something:

I was passing through Houston International last month when I happened to
fall in with a trio of welders back home from a Vegas vacation.

At one point the eldest man, who'd been talking about retirement, casually
said, "I can weld anything but a broken heart."

The second eldest said, "I can weld anything I can jump across."

The youngest, who looked to be in his late thirties, said, "I can weld the
crack of dawn."

 Cool enough, right?  Now get a load of this:

1810 Christian Schultz, Jr.,  _Travels on an Inland Voyage through the
States of New-York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee;
and through the Territories of Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, and
New-Orleans, Performed in the Years 1807 and 1808 _ (N.Y.: Isaac Riley)
145: * *In passing two [keel] boats next to mine, I heard some very warm
words; which, my men informed me, proceeded from some drunken sailors who
had had a dispute respecting a _Choctaw Lady*_.* Although I might fill half
a dozen pages with the curious slang made use of on this occasion, yet I
prefer selecting a few of the most brilliant expressions by way of sample.
One said, 'I am a man; I am a horse; I am a team; I can whip any man _in all
Kentucky_*, *
by G-d.' The other replied, 'I am an alligator; half man, half horse; I can
whip any _on the Mississippi_,* *by G-d.' The first one again: 'I am a man,
have the best horse, best dog, best gun, and handsomest wife _in all
Kentucky_,* *by G-d.' The other, ' I am a Mississippi snapping turtle; have
bear's claws, alligator's teeth, and the devil's tail; can whip _any
man_*,*by G-d.' This was too much for the first, and at it they went
like two
bulls, and continued for half an hour, when the alligator was fairly
vanquished by the horse."

That was in Natchez.


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

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