Several of my former confederates at the Great Corporate Salt Mine got together for a holiday luncheon at one of the local burger palaces. About two-thirds of the group is currently retired; the ratio would have been closer to 50:50 working vs. retired, except for the fact that the ones that are still actively employed were too busy doing useful work than to lollygag at lunch.
Seeing the old gang was pleasant enough, but it did not fill me with nostalgic yearning for the Salt Mine. This did not surprise me.
As we prepared to leave, one of the fellows announced, “I’m going to pay Mrs. Murphy a visit.” It didn’t take a great leap of imagination for Mr. Debonair to suss out what he meant: He was going to visit the restroom. The phrase was clearly an alternative to the ever-popular “I’m going to see a man about a horse,” a way of quietly announcing that you will be absent for a few minutes on a personal errand that does not require more specific description in polite company. (For this purpose, one could also simply say, “Please excuse me for a moment,” but where’s the poetry in that?)
Interesting turn of phrase, that. I wonder what it says about Mrs. Murphy.
And now I have an entirely new theory as to who threw the frog in Mrs. Murphy’s chowder.