Wednesday, February 27, 2008

He's Back!

One of the great losses for the blogosphere occurred a little more than a year ago, when Michael Bérubé decided to hang up his spikes.

I am happy to note that he has started popping up again. Of particular enjoyment: he has resurrected his Answer Man persona in a couple of recent posts on TPM. Here's all you need to know about political correctness and Barack Obama's failure during last night's debate.

More posts and links here, here, and here. Great to see you back in action, Michael.


Anonymous said...

I'm not familiar with Michael Berube but I have a question about the expression "hang up his spikes." Do we think of runners or baseball players as hanging up their spikes when they leave the game? It seems like they would take them off and put them away rather than hang them up, although the meaning is clear.

In the world of the longshoremen they say they "hang up their hook" when they retire or pass away, but longshoremen actually used hooks in the early days and maybe still do. They would grab a wooden crate or barrel or whatever by hooking it with a hook that was a metal hook with a wooden handle across the non-pointed end. Meat cutters also use them to hold or pull sides of beef around when they are cutting it. They literally do hang up the hook when finished with a day's work.

Maybe athletes do actually hang up their spikes. It seems like I've seen shoelaces tied together and shoes hung on a hook in a locker, but I'm not sure we use that metaphor for retiring from the game. It's an esoteric point I concede.

bjkeefe said...

Interesting thoughts, TC.

Being baseball-centered for practically all of my life, I never thought about the possibility that the expression may come from track and field. This is probably similar to "the whole nine yards" or "OK" -- everyone has a different story for the origin, none of them agree, and all of them provoke rancor.

I do think that the image of spiked shoes hanging on a peg in a locker, or on a nail in a barn, is a familiar and iconic image, especially from old baseball stories.

Never apologize for indulging in esoterica. And remember that straining at gnats is a big part of the mission of this blog.