santa cruz wharf

18 June 2007

Manic Monday ~ Heat

I was thinking along the same lines as Morgen and

“If you can’t stand the Heat….”

because over drinks the other night….a 40-something friend of mine was complaining (bitching and moaning) about the guy in her life not being as amorous as she would like him to be. As a group we decided she should tell him:

“If you can’t stand the heat….get out of the bedroom…
go into the kitchen...make me something to eat”
(yeah…I guess you had to be there)

However the original quote was by Harry S. Truman.

(great little site for these kinda things)

This is widely reported as being coined by US President Harry S. Truman. That's almost correct, but in fact Truman was known to have used it at least as early as 1942 - before becoming president. Here's a citation from an Idaho newspaper The Soda Springs Sun, from July that year:

"Favorite rejoinder of Senator Harry S. Truman, when a member of his war contracts investigating committee objects to his strenuous pace: 'If you don't like the heat, get out of the kitchen'."

He used a version slightly nearer the one most often used nowadays, in 1949, after becoming president, when warning his staff not to concern themselves over criticism about their appointments:

"I'll stand by [you] but if you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen."

Truman was well-known as a plain-speaker, in a way that politicians in our more media-sensitive age rarely are. This was celebrated by Merle Miller, who published a set of interviews with him - called Plain Speaking: An Oral Biography of Harry S. Truman, in 1974. It includes this unambiguous gem, which would hardly get past the presidential spin-machine these days:

"I didn't fire him [General MacArthur] because he was a dumb son of a bitch, although he was, but that's not against the law for generals. If it was, half to three quarters of them would be in jail."

The other phrase associated with Truman that has entered our language is 'the buck stops here'.

Another linguistic quirk concerning Truman is the spelling of his name. The 'S' isn't short for anything - it is just 'S', and by normal grammatical convention it wouldn't be followed by a full stop (period). Truman always signed his name with a full stop though.


tegdirb92 said...

awesome post for today!! have a great week!!

Travis said...

I remember learing about the S not standing for anything. There was some debate about which way we should write it in reports.

Ultimately we agreed that with or without the full stop was acceptable, since as you note Mr Truman signed it with the full stop.

Great post today. Happy MM!

Mel said...


I'm liking the 'go into the kitchen and make me something to eat' line.
I might haffta store that one for future reference! ;-)