Cliche Sunday

Apparently, I took last week off. The whole week, as I meant to post on monday and that didn’t work either. Or any other day. I’d like to say it was the holiday weekend, but in truth I was whupped. One could even say I slept like a top. I always thought a top slept well be cause of the energy expended while sleeping. I was wrong.

sleep like a top: to sleep soundly. When a top is spun correctly, the axis stays stationary, appearing that the top is sleeping. Tops were quite popular in the days before batteries, and children  took pride in how well they could spin them. Earliest tops were found in Egypt,  dating back to 1250 BC.

sleep on a clothesline: to sleep very well indeed. One might think that one would never be so tired to sleep on a rope.  But according to George Orwell, destitute men did have to sleep like that:

At the Twopenny Hangover, the lodgers sit in a row on a bench; there is a rope in front of them, and they lean on this as though leaning over a fence. A man, humorously called the valet, cuts the rope at five in the morning. I have never been there myself, but Bozo had been there often. I asked him whether anyone could possibly sleep in such an attitude, and he said that it was more comfortable than it sounded – at any rate, better than bare floor. There are similar shelters in Paris, but the charge there is only twenty-five centimes (a halfpenny) instead of twopence.
    Down and Out in Paris and London, 1933

The book is well-known to be semi-autobiographical, as Orwell rambled about during the ’30s.

sleep tight: an admonition to sleep well.  Often followed with the words,” don’t let the bed bugs bite.”  The earliest version in print, 1866, was actually “sleep tight and  wake bright.”  Either way, the phrase “sleep tight” was cemented into  English culture by John Lennon and Paul McCartney on the White Album:

Now it’s time to say good night,
Good night. Sleep tight.
          Good Night, 1968

snug as a bug in a rug: to be tucked cosily into a bed. From warning of being bit by bugs, to comparing ourselves to them!  Bugs were originally ghosts or ghouls, and no one is quite sure how they became insects.  At some point, however, we hoped to be as comfy as bugs 🙂 Most likely, it came from “the first such ‘bug in a rug’ was probably a cricket; these creatures are attracted to warmth and congregate in buildings around ovens and open fires.”*




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