Thursday, 11 December 2008

Taking the piss

WE have more than our fair share of unusual sayings in Ireland but “Taking the piss” has to be up there with the strangest of them.

Often, I’ve wondered if, at some point in history, a prankster actually robbed a much-beloved jug of urine from someone else in order to ridicule them? Or is it possible that a famous court jester, many centuries ago, also moonlighted as a toilet cleaner and his two main skills in life - telling jokes and removing piddle - became somehow intertwined and were subsequently seen as meaning the same thing?

If neither of these potential explanations turn out to be true, I’ve come across two boys who have offered up a modern explanation for the origins of this bizarre term.

On two separate occasions, a judge threw out a drink-driving case because of the danger that the two defendants could have inhaled alcoholic fumes from their own urine prior to being breathalised at the station.

The judge told the court that, because the 20-minute period of observation of the defendants had been broken up when they turned their back on gardai in order to urinate, they could not be convicted.
Displaying an astounding knowledge of all matters urinary, the judge pointed out that; “Nil by mouth is the same as nil by nose. When he is urinating, he is inhaling vapourised alcohol and there’s always steam off it.”

Well isn’t that just wonderful? All a guy needs to do to get away with drink driving in Ireland is grab a quick ‘pee and sniff’ after getting caught. What’s next? Taking a dump in the station toilet after being arrested will get you off an assault charge?

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