Saturday, December 02, 2006

Birth of a Euphemism

In 2003, the guys and I went to my pal Bryan's family's condo in Florida for spring break. The trip itself is worth a post of its own, as it encompassed two nonstop 23-hour drives across the United States, a drunken game of Risk, a car accident on the Bluewater Bridge and two of my female friends being propositioned by a pimp who needed "some new fillies in the stable," and tried to ply them with the offer of lobster.

But for now, we will merely concern ourselves with my bed. Specifically, my fold-out bed. The condo consisted of three beds, so with five guys in the room and only one bed that could realistically sleep two, the couch had to be drafted into service. The couch was judged to be the least-comfortable of the sleeping quarters, and so I was assigned that bunk due to the fact that I wasn't allowed to contribute to the driving effort due to my undeserved and entirely fictitious reputation as a shitty driver.

(I didn't mind, since I wasn't exactly eager to spend a six-hour shift on a U.S. highway. And I ended up having something of the last laugh, since I wasn't the one responsible for the aforementioned Bluewater Bridge crash. But, on with the story.)

So here I was, sleeping in the living room. As one would expect, the foot traffic around my bed in the morning was pretty large, and as a result, my bedsheets would often end up trampled on. One morning, someone stepped on my sheet after just coming inside from the dirty hallway, and thus a big brown footprint was left.

This is where the specific male mindset takes hold -- any women reading this post may shake their heads in bemusement, but every guy will laugh. Anyway, the guys saw this footprint (a.k.a. a brown mark on my bedsheet) and immediately turned it into a running joke of "Mark shit the bed." This lasted throughout the rest of the trip and for weeks afterwards.

Now, what is the reason behind this seemingly random story? I believe it was the impetus for the introduction of the phrase "shitting the bed" into popular culture. As in, "Boy, Melissa really shit the bed on that presentation," or "Jim turned in a bed-shittingly awful performance at quarterback yesterday." I never heard that phrase used before spring of 2003, and then as soon as my friends teasing me with it, I heard it everywhere -- by other people in different groups of friends, on TV, in the movies. I'm pretty sure I even heard the P.M. use it during a particularly heated session in the House of Commons (dramatization: may not have happened).

I think I deserve some royalties for this. Or, if not myself individually, at least my buddies from the trip. Who knows whose shoe it was that caused that historic brown mark on the bedsheet? That bedsheet is to modern slang what the Shroud of Turin was to modern religion. And, as it says in the Bible, Ted 4:12....."Everyone hath a price."

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