At a Christmas lunch with the extended family, our great
aunt was telling a story about her granddaughter’s career success and used the
idiom “work like a turk” in a complimentary
explanation of her granddaughters’s work ethic.
Just the week before I had used the same old-time adage and
wondered, “What does that even mean?” I called it to the attention of all at
the table. Nobody knew its origin. We all had a good laugh, then did what
people do now-a-days, Googled it. Even Google couldn’t definitively tell us.
Even though we couldn’t get a definitive definition, we
decided (in today’s world of political correctness) to remove it from our
vernacular along with others like: Indian-giver,
Jew ‘em down, and Call a spade a
spade (which is actually referring to a hoe…not sure that’s any better!)
After careful assessment of my vocabulary, I decided that
I’m keeping Bull in a china shop, More than you can shake a stick at, and As easy as falling off a log. After all
I’m a Southerner, like Mark Twain, and colorful expressions, like cursing and
old idioms, are part of our language. It’s one of the reasons everyone wants to
be a Southerner…’cause they like the way we talk.