Where did that saying come from?

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Realty Center

My brother sent this to me...interesting....

Where did piss poor come from ?

We older people need to learn something new every day...

Just to keep the grey matter tuned up.

Where did "Piss Poor" come from?

Interesting History.

They used to use urine to tan animal skins, so families used to all pee in a pot.

And then once it was full it was taken and sold to the tannery...

if you had to do this to survive you were "Piss Poor".

But worse than that were the really poor folk who couldn't even afford to buy a pot...

They "didn't have a pot to piss in" and were the lowest of the low.

The next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water temperature

Isn't just how you like it, think about how things used to be.

Here are some facts about the 1500's

Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May,

And they still smelled pretty good by June. However, since they were starting to smell,

Brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor.

Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water.

The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water,

Then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children.

Last of all the babies.

By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it.

Hence the saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the Bath water!"

Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood underneath.

It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals

(mice, bugs) lived in the roof.

When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof.

Hence the saying, "It's raining cats and dogs."

There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house.

This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings

Could mess up your nice clean bed.

Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection.

That's how canopy beds came into existence.

The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt.

Hence the saying, "Dirt poor." The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery

In the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on the floor to help keep their footing.

As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until, when you opened the door,

It would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entrance-way.

Hence: a thresh hold.

(Getting quite an education, aren't you?)

In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire.

Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables

And did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers

In the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day.

Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while.

Hence the rhyme:

Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old.

Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special.

When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off.

It was a sign of wealth that a man could, "bring home the bacon."

They would cut off a little to share with guests

And would all sit around and chew the fat.

Those with money had plates made of pewter.

Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning death.

This happened most often with tomatoes,

so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.

Bread was divided according to status.

Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle,

and guests got the top, or the upper crust.

Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky.

The combination would sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days.

Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial.

They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around

and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up.

Hence the custom; of holding a wake.

England is old and small and the local folks started running out of places to bury people.

So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a bone-house, and reuse the grave..

When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive.

So they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell.

Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the graveyard shift) to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be,

saved by the bell or was "considered a dead ringer.

And that's the truth.

Now, whoever said History was boring!!!

So get out there and educate someone! ~~~

Share these facts with a friend.

Inside every older person is a younger person wondering,

'What the heck happened?'

We'll be friends until we are old and senile.

Then we'll be new friends.

Smile, it gives your face something to do!

Soon we'll all be Piss Poor..

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Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Hey Kristin,  Now I know so much more about some of these sayings.  Wedding in June, interesting but makes sense.  Thanks for my title suggestion.  Have a great day.

Aug 21, 2012 11:58 PM #3
Erv Fleishman
Realty Associates - Boca Raton, FL
Luxury Prop Specialist Realty Associates

I would refer your brother to a reputable urologist and then he can understand the true meaning of the phrase. 

Aug 22, 2012 12:00 AM #4
David Grbich
Realty One Group - www.FindCARealEstate.com - San Juan Capistrano, CA
Orange County Real Estate - 949-500-0484

Kristin - a fun way to learn some history - thanks for sharing. Regards Dave

Aug 22, 2012 12:01 AM #5
Roger D. Mucci
Shaken...with a Twist 216.633.2092 - Euclid, OH
Lets shake things up at your home today!

I've seen this before MM and love it!

Aug 22, 2012 12:09 AM #6
Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Realty Center - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

No problem Will...I always appreciate it when someone lets me know on a type :-)

Ha ha Erv?  :0)

David, you betcha!

Roger, I am not surprised, you are so on top of things :0

Aug 22, 2012 12:16 AM #7
Scott Hayes
(512) 786-8300 - Austin, TX
Realty Austin, Broker Associate


That was not a piss poor explanation by any means

Aug 22, 2012 03:15 AM #8
Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Realty Center - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

He hee, I didn't think so either Scott!

Aug 22, 2012 03:26 AM #9
Sharon Lee
Sharon Lee's Virtual Assistance - Jonesborough, TN
Retired and loving life

Well there sunshine that was quite an interesting history lesson. I found out lots of stuff I didn't know. See what you learn when stop and see a good buddy named Kristin. LOTS

Aug 22, 2012 07:41 AM #10
Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Realty Center - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

He hee..aw thanks Sharon!

Aug 22, 2012 08:24 AM #11
Lou Ludwig
Ludwig & Associates - Boca Raton, FL
Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC


Great post is not a red X in my mind, you out did yourself to day.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Aug 22, 2012 01:18 PM #12
Ron Marshall
Marshall Enterprises - Saint Michael, MN
Birdhouse Builder Extraordinaire

Well, Kristin, I do feel so much better now...I think.  (Shudder.)

Aug 22, 2012 09:32 PM #13
Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Realty Center - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

Thanks Lou!!!

Ron, LOL :-)

Aug 22, 2012 11:30 PM #14
Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905

Kristin, I recall reading this years ago--SO interesting. I always wanted to know the meaning of "dead as a doornail", which I remember reading in Dickens. For some time now, I've toyed with the idea of writing a book about colloquialisms--I think it would be so much fun!

Aug 23, 2012 03:02 AM #15
Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Realty Center - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

Gayle, glad you liked it again....and I would read your book!!

Aug 23, 2012 04:43 AM #16
Cindy Edwards
RE/MAX Checkmate - Johnson City, TN
CRS, GRI, PMN - Northeast Tennessee - 423-677-6677

Good morning Kristin,

This is so much fun.  I love this stuff.  I hope you don't mind if I borrow some of it!!!

Aug 26, 2012 12:16 AM #17
Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Realty Center - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

Of course not, go right ahead Cindy!

Aug 26, 2012 01:01 AM #18
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, Keller Williams Fox Cities - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Thanks Kristin, this is very funny, and educational, however I am not sure that I believe all of these fun historical facts.

Suggested and shared.

Aug 29, 2012 07:12 AM #19
Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Realty Center - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

Thanks much Bob!  I appreciate your comments and have subscribed!

Aug 29, 2012 07:57 AM #20
Lisa Friedman
Great American Dream Realty - Essex, VT
29 Years of Real Estate Experience!

This was a very enjoyable and entertaining post. I love little known 'facts' like this!

Jul 29, 2013 01:22 PM #21
Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Realty Center - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

Glad to hear it Lisa!

Jul 29, 2013 11:51 PM #22
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