I Didn't Know That
I Didn’t Know That
There’s an old joke credited to economists about recessions vs. depressions.
You’ve probably heard it: a recession is when your neighbor loses his job. A depression is when you lose yours. (OK. So they’re economists. Nobody expects them to be too funny.)
But all kidding aside, we’re hard pressed to watch a single newscast these days without the depressing reports of rising unemployment and all things “economic downturn.”
It doesn’t take the media to tell you this; (though some might argue the media isn’t helping matters.) You can just look around. Seems everyone knows someone who is scrambling for work, scrambling to salvage a mortgage, or scrambling to avoid the dreaded pink slip, (that is, provided it’s not you, yourself, that’s doing the scrambling).
This week I’ve heard from friends forwarding resumes. I’ve heard from colleagues looking to change careers entirely. Some of us are starting brand new businesses. Others are just trying to stay afloat. Bottom line: when times get tough, anything up for grabs is fair game.
Curiously, the phrase up for grabs was born under similar economic conditions. The expression is a product of the Great Depression
For those whose grandmother’s saved twine back in the 1930s, you too, have probably heard tales of how people pulled together. Individuals, as well as businesses did all they could to survive. Small town diners and cafeterias learned to salvage every scrap of food, as any and all excess could be someone’s only meal. Soon, restaurant owners began bagging their leftovers for beggars and those hardest hit. It became customary for these bags to be set at the end of the lunch counter, available to anyone who might be in need. From this charitable custom, up for grabs was born, from a handout, set up on the counter for the needy to grab.
Karlen Evins is the author of Southern to the Core: An Evins Family Cookbook and the “I Didn’t Know That” series of books and columns. For more information, please visit www.karlenevins.com