Churchill, Madison, Nigel Rhys discussed on A Way with Words: language, linguistics, and callers from all over


Pot of soup where we like to take samples from time to time. Well, thank you for explaining. All right, take care now and be well. You too. Bye bye. Bye bye. What are the language collisions in your house or your neighborhood or your city? Let us know 877-929-9673 or send your stories about language in email to words at wayward radio dot org. Hello, you have a way with words. Hi. This is Madison calling from Wilmington, North Carolina. Hello, Madison. Welcome to the show. Well, I was calling to ask you about something that my grandfather used to say. Which is that he would tell us to take Churchill's advice. And I wanted to see what I could learn about that phrase. Take Churchill's advice. Oh boy, a Churchill had a lot of advice. Some of it good, some of rascally. What was it? So when he would tell us that we knew that he was basically telling us to go try to use the bathroom while you have the chance. Churchill device says, go to the bathroom every chance that you get. So if you're on a road trip and you're stopping for gas and you're like, well, I don't really have to go right now, but you know, I may as well take Churchill's advice. We're here. Or something like that, you know? Yeah, yeah. Why would Churchill say that? I have no idea. Like you said, Churchill was known for saying a lot of wacky things. So I was just wondering, is that something like do other people say that? Is that something that, you know, where would he have gotten that from? Is that something his family made up? Because I've never heard anybody or run into anybody else who knows what that means. First of all, Madison, I would say that's excellent advice, wouldn't you? Yeah, you know, it does come in handy. Right. Carpe p.m.. But it didn't come from Churchill as you might have suspected. Okay, there is a quotation floating around that a lot of people repeat that goes something like never pass up the chance to sit down or go to the bathroom, and it often gets attributed to Churchill, but it sort of like one of those memes that go around the Internet like, you know, you see a picture of Abraham Lincoln, which says, don't believe everything you read on the Internet. The source of that quote. Yeah, so that's not advice from Churchill, but there is a bit more to that story, isn't there grant? Yeah, there really is. There was a contemporary of Churchill. One of the biggest scandals of the age in the late 1940s was when the king of England abdicated the throne to marry the American Wallace Simpson, who had been divorced twice. And Edward wrote a book that was first serialized in newspapers across the English speaking world. And in that book, and in those serialized articles in the newspapers, he uses an expression that's very similar to that. He says, perhaps one of the only positive pieces of advice that I was ever given was that supplies by an old courtier who observed only two rules really count, never miss an opportunity to relieve yourself, never miss a chance to sit down and rest your feet. And this is from his book called a king's story, 1951, and at that point he was no longer king who was his official title as the duke of Windsor. And there's a British scholar called Nigel Rhys, who for a very long time has been researching quotations. And he has a fantastic newsletter called quote unquote and a great website by the same name. And he believes Nigel Rhys believes that it may go back even further among the royals, the royal families. He thinks it may have been said by the very first duke of Wellington Arthur wellesley as always make water when you can. Because it's attributed to that first duke of Wellington, but I don't have a date on that. But it is possible that instead of Churchill, it comes from other British August figures of note. Who have to make lots of public appearances. I mean, this makes sense to me. Yeah. Yeah, you're always being shuttled around from important event to important event and people always wanted to catch your eye or catch your arm and talk to you and don't forget that you have very human needs that are private that don't involve other people. Well, that makes sense. Madison, thank you so much for calling today. And it doesn't matter that your grandpa didn't get it quite right. It was still really good advice to pass along to you. It is, and you know he had a lot of good advice. Thank you for letting me ask about that. That was a lot of fun. Yeah, it was. All right, take care. Call us again sometime. Bye. Take care. Bye bye. And you know if there's a famous saying or quotation that you've been repeating for years and now you're wondering, do I have that right? Is that really the person who said it? Do I even have the words right? Let us check that for you. 877-929-9673 email words at wayward radio dot org or find a dozen other ways to reach us at wayward radio dot org slash contact. Our team includes senior producer Stephanie Levine, engineer and editor Tim Felton, and quiz guy John Chanel. We'd love to hear from you, no matter where you are in the world, go to wayward radio dot org slash contact. Subscribe to the podcast here hundreds of past episodes and get the newsletter at wayward radio dot ORG. Whenever you have a language story or question, our toll free line is open in the U.S. and Canada, one 8 7 7 9 two 9 9 6 7 three, or send your thoughts to words at wayward radio org. Away with words is an independent production of wayward Inc, a nonprofit supported by listeners and organizations who are changing the way the world talks about language. Special thanks to Michael Brest Lauer, Josh eccles, Claire grating, Bruce rogo, Rick seidan worm and Betty Willis. Thanks for listening. I'm Martha Barnett. And I'm grant Barrett until

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