[Ads-l] "You live in shit!"

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Wed May 20 01:45:32 UTC 2015

Some years ago, I mentioned this bit of GI slang, of which there was no
trace, at the time, except in my memory and in those of the few Army
buddies with whom I'm still in contact, a half-century later. Now, there
are 24,621 raw G-hits, Web and Books combined.

And they are all appear to be used as expected: as insults.

In the Army, the phrase meant,

"Wow! You are really *lucky*!" "Everything is breaking your way!" "How in
hell are *you* so fortunate?!" "I really *envy* you your good fortune!"

It was a friendly expression of envy that something had gone right -
seemingly out of nowhere - for someone else, as when the someone somehow
forgot to put on his insignia before an inspection, only to have it happen
that the inspection was carried out by a Navy officer, who didn't notice
anything wrong with an Army uniform.

As for the semantic development, fifty years of pondering it has given me
no clue.

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

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

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