As a business owner, you’re bringing home the bacon
You hope you don’t have to eat humble pie in the process. Your competitors are a barmy army, so you should be able to keep up the momentum. But a recent straw poll suggested times might be changing.
Chasing a greased pig
Our language is stuffed full of everyday sayings whose original meanings have been long forgotten. Some say the phrase bringing home the bacon originates from a popular game played at village fairs, where burly blokes would chase a greased pig (poor thing) around and the one to catch it kept the poor bugger as a prize.
Minions and serfs
Humble pie comes from a hierarchy established in medieval times. During banquets the hunting gentry would eat the finest cuts of meat they’d slaughtered, and the minions and serfs would get the considerably less palatable leftovers, the offal and entrails, known as humble pie. Spleen, anyone?
Visions of the future
The term straw poll originated in the US in 1824, when a reporter questioned a small sample of voters and correctly predicted the result of an election in Wilmington, Pennsylvania. The straw bit comes from throwing a bunch of straw in the air to see which way the wind’s blowing.
All mod cons
And if you’re ever unlucky enough to be sold down the river, remember where the phrase comes from. It’s just as nasty. In the 1800s slave owners promised their charges an easy, pleasant lifestyle in the lap of luxury, to keep the quiet. Then sent them to be sold to plantation owners as slave labour.
Albert Jack has written an excellent book about the origins of everyday phrases, many of which we use in a business context without thinking twice. If you’re stuck for conversation at a networking event it’s a great ice-breaker! It’s called Red Herrings and White Elephants.