expressions

Taking the piss…

Ever heard this expression? I think it’s a Britishism. I read it for the first time a few weeks ago, when I was reading Toytown Germany. Some people were writing about being unfairly treated by someone in authority… bosses, landlords, or even friends and family members. Time after time, I’d see British or Irish posters referring to “taking the piss”. It struck me as a funny euphemism, so I looked it up on Urban Dictionary. There were several definitions, but the one that seemed most relevant in the context provided on Toytown Germany was this one…

But this appears to be a more modern definition…
This appears to be the more traditional meaning.

It’s interesting how this expression has evolved. It looks like it used to refer to people who were just “messing” with others, trying to be funny rather than hurtful. The way I’ve seen it used in context more recently implied that it’s more about screwing someone over. That’s also how it’s defined on Wikipedia, for whatever that’s worth, although Wikipedia also references the other meanings.

Frankly, when I hear or read that expression, I think the definition about being screwed over by someone is more fitting. Lately, I can relate to feeling that way myself.

Just as I was writing this, my darling husband came up behind me and stroked my shoulder. I turned to look at him, and he had this adoring smile on his face. I asked him what he wanted and he said “Nothing… you just looked so intensely focused.”

In my typically snarky way, I said “So you decided to break my concentration?” But I was smiling, because at least this time, Bill didn’t sneak up behind me. He’s done that a few times, although I don’t think he’s ever done it intentionally. I’ll be reading or writing something, completely unaware of his presence, and he’ll startle me, the same way our old beagle, Flea, used to. I seriously believe Flea enjoyed making me jump out of my skin. He’d come into a room when my back was turned, sit there silently for a minute or two, then bark sharply. Inevitably, that would scare the shit out of me and I’d cuss and glare. Bill says he watched him do that several times. I’m sure it was hilarious to witness. Having spent so many years living with dogs, I know they have a sense of humor.

I hate being startled, though, and I don’t like it when someone breaks my focus. When I was a child, I had problems with concentration. I was very easily distracted. Unfortunately, in third grade, my elementary school had an “open pod” classroom that allowed for two classes to go on in a large room. My teacher wasn’t as loud as the teacher in the other space, so my attention would always drift to the other teacher. Then, when my teacher would catch me not paying attention, she’d call on me. I’d have no idea what was going on, and she would humiliate me in front of my classmates. A lot of the worst of the bullies rode my bus, so they would continue the harassment all the way home. It made for a rather miserable school year.

Now that I’m older, I can more easily concentrate, but when I do manage to focus, I become less aware of other things. Consequently, I’m easily startled, and when I’m startled, I get upset. Also, I tend to get really annoyed by people who “take the piss”, either way it’s defined. I mostly try to do right by other people unless they give me a good reason not to. I have a great sense of humor, but I don’t like upsetting people for the sake of being an asshole. And I also don’t appreciate it when they do that to me, although I will admit that the more skillful comedians are more likely to get away with it than others are.

Anyway, a quick search of Toytown Germany reveals many examples of the expression, “taking the piss”. I don’t run across that expression in other areas of the Web where I hang out, even though I have a number of European friends. I think I might need to incorporate that expression into my daily lexicon, especially since it seems to fit so well with my life lately. Yes… we’ve recently been screwed over and taken advantage of. Someone has definitely “taken the piss” with us. But I suspect we’ll have the last laugh.

For some reason, this sentence makes me laugh…

Yes, tell him that you’ll not be bullied, to stop trying to take the piss and deal with the situation like a respectable human being.

This one, too…

Definitely taking the piss. Do you have bank statements showing the original transfer or a copy of the contract signed by you both ?

Get a solicitor where you are to send a letter and I’m sure that an official response will follow.

Standard