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Is it really time, gentlemen please, for Westerners to “wet their whistle?”

Rambling by Doug BellIs it really time, gentlemen please, for Westerners to “wet-their-whistle?”Many years ago in England, pub goers…

Rambling by Doug Bell

Is it really time, gentlemen please, for Westerners to “wet-their-whistle?”

Many years ago in England, pub goers had a whistle baked into the rim, or handle, of their ceramic cups. When they needed a refill they blew the whistle to get service.

“Wet your whistle,” according to a friend on the internet, is the phrase inspired by this practice.

We picked up “mind your p’s and q’s” from the same source he added. ‘Tis the custom in English pubs to order ale by pints and quarts, and publicans in old England would yell at unruly customers to mind their own pints and quarts and settle down, or you’re out on your ear.

So, a tip of the hat to all candidates who minded their p’s and q’s in their electioneering, accompanied by a toast, to all the support crew — the thousands of people who keep the election trains rolling.

If you’ve a mind to wet your whistle for the toast may I suggest Dog Sled Ale, or any of its mates you’ll find in the Chilkoot traces. 

The toast, which fits much of our leaders election speechifying as neatly as a pair of designer jeans, is:

“Here’s to you, as good as you are.

Here’s to me as bad as I am.

As good as you are and as bad as I am

I’m as good as you are, as bad as I am.”

Would you believe ’tis an Irish toast?

Would you also believe ‘twas politician, Sir Boyle Roache in the Irish Parliament who could have been on about our election having said, “Three quarters of what the opposition says about us is lies and the other half is without any foundation in truth.”

Though he said it decades ago, it lends strength to the old adage, the more things change the more they remain the same, especially in politics. Although the final words about toasts, in the book a Gentleman’s Guide to Toasting, tells me, “From their ancient Greek origins, toasts have long enjoyed an important place in international diplomacy. The ancient custom of drinking to one’s health was a means of assuring a visiting dignitary that his beverage was not spiked with poison, an early form of political dirty tricks.”

Suggesting today’s election buzzword “change” is in play, saying we have so made political steps forward — today we use poisoned words not poisoned drink. 

Half the work that is done in this world is to make things appear what they are not.  (Elias Root Beadle)

So did our election put round pegs in square holes, or square pegs in round holes, or is it more of the same as epitomized by Behan’s experience?

Irish writer Brendan Behan tells the story of how he got a job in London with a street repair gang. His first assignment was to join the repair crew down in a hole. He found them singing Happy Birthday, around the foreman.

“Is it the foreman’s birthday?” he asked.

“No,” Brendan, “It’s the third anniversary of the hole.”

Intolerance comes with a closed mind.

Health Care according to Mr. And Mrs. Canadian Voter:

With the elections, controversial health care talk it seems Mr. and Mrs. Canadian were sitting in their living room, Joe with his popcorn and beer, exchanging deep thoughts about health care and their later years when Joe pronounced: “Just so you know, I never want to live in a vegetative state, dependent on some machine and fluids from a bottle. If that ever happens, just pull the plug.”

His wife got up, unplugged the TV, and threw out all of his beer.

The eye of a friend is a good looking glass. (So is the X of voters.)

Sleep tight . . .

A final odds ‘n’ ends piece from my internet buddy who told me in Shakespeare’s time mattresses were secured on frames by ropes. When you pulled the ropes the mattress tightened making the bed firmer to sleep on hence the phrase “Goodnight, sleep tight.”

So good night, sleep tight; don’t worry I don’t think the ‘ogre’ will bite.

Since I’m on an Irish lilt, another toast to close, and ‘tis aimed at our new Prime minister Stephen Harper: “May you have the hindsight to know where you’ve been, the foresight to know where you’re going and the insight to know when you’re going too far.”

And a tip of a big fur hat to you on your win — you’re the only one I saw, or heard, who mentioned the North in the television election coverage.