Saturday Morning Oys – May 21st, 2022 

From Andréa:

And which sort of meaning is invoked in “Check your privilege”?

The person sending this in said Today’s “Rubes” would qualify either for a Sunday Funnies or a
Saturday OY post
. So which one won out? Aha, Andréa found it too and says “OY (also, EW – and such a waste when folks are starving in the world)”.
A couple of OYs from Darren, who says “The unshelved is old, but I enjoyed the extra time to get it” (Old inasmuch as “This classic Unshelved striporiginally appeared on May 9, 2011.”)

… and “Along with 10 seconds before I got the loose parts ‘remorse'”:


  1. In “Starship Troopers”, Heinlein wrote that a beginning piper “…sounds and looks as if he had a cat under his arm, its tail in his mouth, and biting it.

    P.S. I would like to see that “Rubes” turned into a song by Weird Al Yankovic.

  2. There are actually three possible meanings for “check” in “check your privilege”. First is to examine; second is to restrain; third is to leave (in safekeeping). I think the third is the least likely. First and second are both possible and I think the phrase might intentionally invoke both meanings.

  3. I sometimes thought there was a similar ambiguity to “curb your dog” : either “restrain it” or “keep it close to the kerb”.

  4. @ Dana K – I don’t remember where (nor when) I saw it last, but I believe there used to be a street (or sidewalk) sign that said “curb your spit”. I’m sure that it was meant in the sense of “please desist”, but as a kid I thought it meant “please aim for the gutter”.

  5. I’ve always had a mental image of a parallel parked car bridging “curb” the verb and “curb/kerb” noun — you have to wedge the front tires to the kerb so the car won’t roll away should the parking brake fail, thus you have curbed the car’s potential to run away.
    Although actually Merriam Webster’s has as definition three of the verb: to lead (a dog) to a suitable place (such as a gutter) for defecation (definition two is: to check or control with or as if with a curb)

  6. And actually, now that I’m there, I don’t understand definition one at all: to furnish with a curb — huh? what does that mean? I see some guy with beams of concrete over his shoulder, making deliveries and selling them to passersby: getcher curbs here!

  7. So to answer the question, I think “Curb Your Enthusiasm” has slightly run away with the meaning of “curb” in a way that Merriam-Webster’s hasn’t quite caught up with. Verb meaning 2 is where we are, but MW suggests that a physical curb is, if not quite necessary, then still should at least be implied — something that could be physically restrained with a physical curb. Obviously “enthusiasm” couldn’t, and so we have the verb freed from material constraints, just meaning to restrain or hold back, without reference to physical objects. (Kind of like “hold back” in that regard…)

  8. Furnish with a curb: I imagine that means, like, if you are building a country road, you might add a ditch to collect storm water, so that the road doesn’t flood. But in town, people don’t like ditches alongside the streets, so you furnish the street with a curb to channel rain water into the storm drains.

  9. When I was a little kid I asked my mother what the “Curb Your Dog” sign meant. She said “It means don’t let your dog go just anywhere he wants to.” I thought she meant “keep it on the leash.” My mother never said certain words and it was only years later that I realized what she meant.

    If you don’t realize what she meant, try this: “News flash: Officers at the police station report that their rest rooms were broken into and all the toilet seats are missing. Police say they have nothing to go on.”

  10. BTW first definition of “curb” from Webster’s New International Dictionary, Second Edition, unabridged: “A chain or strap attached to the upper part of the branches of a bit, used for restraint by drawing against the lower jaw of the horse.”

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