Thursday 20 December 2012


I'm sure this is true in all languages, but there are lots of phrases in the English language that don't make a whole lot of sense:

It's a dog-eat-dog world.  Ok maybe some dogs are viciously competitive, but have you ever seen a dog actually eat another dog?
I slept like a baby.  No you didn't, you slept all night.  Babies wake up screaming every two hours!
He wants to have his cake and eat it too.  What is the point of having cake if you're not going to eat it?
It's the bee's knees!  It's...wait, what?  What the fuck does that even mean? 

But other phrases make perfect sense:

I'm as happy as a pig in slop.  Yup, pigs look very happy wallowing in mud.
That went like clockwork.  Sure, fine clocks are incredibly intricate.
It's as smooth as silk.  Self-explanatory.

So what the hell am I getting at?  What exactly does this have to do with anything?  Just wait.  I promise it will make sense in a moment.

A very boisterous (my nice way of saying "obnoxiously loud") man was brought to my trauma bay having been allegedly assaulted by five other men.  His main complaint was a headache due to a gash on his forehead.

"Oh, and my fists hurt too."

Your fists hurt?  I hadn't heard that one before.  "Yeah, Doc.  I think I knocked one of them the fuck out."


My main complaint was that he smelled like a dirty diaper that had been dipped in booze. He and his "buddies" that he had been brawling with had drunk at least a dozen bottles of something, so he had done the only logical and gentlemanly thing he could think to do - he emptied his bladder all over himself during the ambulance ride.  Yes, on purpose.  We peeled his pants off his legs and tried to dispose of them (the pants, not the legs...though trust me, the temptation was there), but the stench wouldn't seem to go away.

We continued with our workup desperately trying to ignore the odor.  In this midst of everything, it turned out that his only available form of identification was an armband with his name and date of birth on it...the armband from the prison from which he had been released the day before.  So naturally he had decided to celebrate his release by drinking and fighting.  Fortunately he hadn't done any major damage and had no major injuries, so he received a few stitches in his forehead for his trouble, and I sent him on his merry way.  The police were only too happy to take him right back.

After this experience, I've added "piss drunk" to the second list.


  1. The short-lived program "A Gifted Man" wouldn't be based off of your life, would it Doc? It was about a doctor that worked at two hospitals; one in a wealthy part of town and another one, as you say, "In a rather poor suburb." (Although he could also see the ghost of his dead ex wife, so I guess the parallels end there.)

    ...Anyway, as for the story, it seems you guys go through a lot with unruly patients.I hope to God I'm never like that.

  2. Here is A German phrase that makes no sense:
    Daumen Dr√ľnken: press your thumb( like in english, break a leg is good luck, well so is this).

  3. It's a little off topic but I think the phrase "have your cake and eat it too" comes from the 1700s when they would make beautiful cakes for just decoration and not eating. So you would get to keep your pretty cake and have cake to eat, too.

  4. I think the saying "The bee's knees" means something is great, the best, like the den less phrase "The cat's pajamas."

    1. Senseless, not den less. Fricken autocorrect.

  5. So in your experience where would you place the term "shit faced"?

    1. Hmm. That's a good one. I would think either the first category or neither, because while it's physically impossible, it still has meaning.

      P.S. Imaging a literal version of that made me laugh considerably as I imagined a shit-made mustache. =P

  6. Sadly? As far as 'dog eat dog' - I have witnessed it. Dead puppies feeding on the corpse of their mother, all tied to a tree and abandoned and neglected. They aren't likely to kill each other for food, but in desperation? A dog will eat another dog. I think I still have pictures of that puppy mill raid. It was tragic.

    But the bee's knees confuse the hell out of me.

    1. On a side note: puppy mills are hell on earth for those poor dogs. My Wiley was born in a puppy mill and ended up at a breed specific rescue being coming home to live with me. I wish I could save more. Maybe when I win the lottery?

  7. I've had plenty of dog patients that had eaten their pups, sometimes all, sometimes just one. There's a lot of guesses as to why, but no definite. If they just eat one it may have been born with a defect such as a cleft palate or flail chest. If it's multiple, the mother may be inexperienced, malnourished.... I've had to watch muzzles dogs give birth and then quickly whisk the pups away to break the sacs and clean them and heat them up, after owners bring them in realising she's eaten some. Makes for interesting X-rays - mashed up bones in belly, whol pup skeletons in uterine horns, and maybe one big pup stuck in the birth canal. Sometimes pups can be put back with mum after a time when the stress is all over but probably never to be trusted with them alone.

  8. Just found your blog, reading it all from the very beginning, absolutely can't put it down. One quick note: if we can trust QI (Quite Interesting, a British talk-show panel-game comedy-thing), then it "comes from the USA, when Italian immigrants came over and said: 'It's the business', which in an Italian accent sounds like: 'It's the bees' knees.'" (

    Or, one also finds that "[its] actual origin has not been determined, but several theories include "b's and e's" (short for "be-alls and end-alls") and a corruption of "business" ("It's the beezness.")" (

    Totally out of place in a medical blog, but you seemed so completely baffled I thought I'd lend a hand there. ;)


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