Thursday, March 12, 2009

I Can Lick 30 Tigers Today! Or not. Eew.

This lesser-known Seuss offering is a little gem I came across today in my work. (Yes, working! Not blogging!) It gives me an opportunity to point out the disparity between the good Doctor's word usage and the current meaning thereof. In the twenty-first century, licking a tiger would involve fur and your mouth, which is both a yucky and exceedingly dangerous endeavor. In the olden days (or perhaps 1969, as the copyright date would attest) "to lick" actually meant "to beat up" and, while it would be equally dangerous, might prove less nasty in the oral hygeine department. In the story, the Cat in the Hat is contemplating whupping 30 tigers, and then comes up with various reasons to knock one or two at a time off the total, ending with just one, who then gets out of a lickin' in favor of lunch. So, it's an illustration of the old "I felt great this morning, but now I could use a sandwich and a nap" scenario. Which is a common enough occurrence in my world. Here's to licking tigers, and lunchtime, and scaredy cats with accessories.

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