Monday, July 2, 2012

You sockdologizing old man-trap

"Don't know the manners of good society, eh? Well, I guess I know enough to turn you inside out, old gal — you sockdolagizing old man-trap."  The line from the play Our American Cousin that was delivered to raucous applause and laughter which disguised the gunshot that killed Abraham Lincoln.

But what does it mean . . . that word.  How exactly does one . . . uhm . . . sockdolagize?  

Sockdologer, a corruption of 'doxologer'.  It is which an expression of praise to God . . . like amen at the end of a prayer or Gloria at the conclusion of a hymn.  

It became a popular word in the mid-1800's.  In the common vernacular, and getting away from the religious meaning . . . it came to mean something that settles a matter . . . landing a knock-down blow.

But as it applies to the line in Our American Cousin, that doesn't really make much sense, does it?  The character, Asa Trenchard,  certainly wasn't paying Mrs. Mountchessington a compliment.

I'm still fishing here for the meaning.  So again . . . what on earth was the man talking about?  It's actually an obscure kind of reference . . . albeit an interesting one.

The Sockdolager  . . . AKA the Yankee Doodle . . . was a spring loaded, clamping fishhook that was patented in 1847 and sold in the Sears Roebuck Catalog.

Ah . . . now we're getting somewhere.  The woman . . . Mrs. Mountchessington . . . was most certainly being insulted.  He was calling her a humdinger of a grasping, manipulative man-trap.  

People of that time were most likely well aware of the Sockdolager to have elicited such a reaction . . . a reaction that was loud enough to disguise the sound of the gunshot that killed our 16th president.

It is interesting to note that the phrase "Sock it to me" . . . most memorably popularized by Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In . . . is most likely a further corruption of Sockdolager.  

During the Civil War battle of Middletown (1864), Union General Philip Sheridan said in reply to receiving word from William Emory about a recent victory, “Now then, tell General Emory if they attack him again to go after them, and to follow them up, and to sock it to them, and to give them the devil”.

"Sock it to them" he said!

Pickle Relish Potato Salad

7 Medium Potatoes
3 Eggs
1 Cup Chopped Celery
1/2 Cup Garlic Pickle Relish
2 Tablespoons Fresh Dill, Chopped
1/4 Teaspoon Garlic Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Celery Salt
1 Tablespoon Prepared Mustard
Ground Black Pepper to Taste
1/2 Cup Mayonnaise

Make the pickle relish by placing two garlic dill pickles in a small food processor and chop.  Set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender but still firm, about 20-25 minutes. Drain, cool, peel and cut into 1-inch chunks.

. Place eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring water to a boil; cover, remove from heat, and let eggs stand in hot water for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from hot water, cool, peel and chop.

In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, eggs, celery, dill, relish, garlic salt, celery salt, mustard, pepper and mayonnaise. Mix together well and refrigerate until chilled.

No comments:

Post a Comment