Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Animal Phrases

America has always been known as a country that roots for the Underdog. Probably due to our Nation's own beginnings. Ever wonder where the term came from? It may quite literally come from the reprehensible practice of dog fighting, where the dog on the bottom is getting the worst of the encounter. I'd like to hope it comes from somewhere else.

Before powered sawmills, logs used to be cut into planks by hand. The trimmed tree would enter the mill and be placed on two stands that straddled a pit in the floor. In our modern times, we call these stands "saw horses," but they used to be called "dogs." Two men, one on top of the log, one underneath in the pit, would use a long saw to cut the tree lengthwise. The man with seniority and more experience was the man on top. He would guide the process, getting the most planks from the tree. He was known as the "overdog," since he worked above the stands. The man in the pit was little more than brute muscle. He had the hottest work and was constantly choked by sawdust. He stayed below the stands, and I'm sure you've concluded what he was called. Let's hear it for the Underdog.

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