"Thanks! I Needed That!"

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Wed Aug 25 04:26:52 UTC 2010

  On 8/24/2010 10:18 PM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society<ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Jonathan Lighter<wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: "Thanks! I Needed That!"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> To Victor: if it was idiomatic by 1953, I think we'd have seen a precise ex.
> ("Thanks! Ineeded that!") long before ca1970.  Though they come close,
> neither Gann nor Uris use the cliche phrase.

One can find the precise phrase much earlier, but I think the expected
usual context would include a stiff drink rather than a slap.

Possibly I haven't paid close enough attention to the thread, but has it
been considered that the slap may not have been conceived as the central
feature, or that the commercial may not have been intended to invoke the
stereotypical hysteria-countering slap?

The word "bracer" at the time of the ad would have had the primary
meaning "[stimulating/fortifying] drink [of hard liquor]", I think.
Sudden vigorous application of skin tonic would call for a slap
(although it's a different slap from that used to get the attention of a
raving hysteric), and it may be that this was intended to parallel the
sudden vigorous application of an internal tonic, i.e., knocking back a
slug of (say) whiskey or brandy.

It's not so much "calm down" as "wake up", maybe.

Just a casual thought.

-- Doug Wilson

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

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