Irish Humour: BALANCED!

Chips

“Despite my privileged upbringing, I’m quite well-balanced. I have a chip on both shoulders.”

Russel Crowe in “A Beautiful Mind”

In Ireland the joke is made about “The well balanced Irishman : a chip on both shoulders.”

”The saying originated during the nineteenth century in the United States, where people wanting a physical fight would carry a chip of wood on their shoulder, daring others to knock it off. Printed citations of this include the Long Island Telegraph, a New York newspaper, which on May 20th, 1830, printed “When two churlish boys were determined to fight, a chip would be placed on the shoulder of one, and the other demanded to knock it off at his peril.” (Wikipedia)

The Translators Workplace site online gives a most excellent explanation on this saying:

English term or phrase:having a chip on both shoulders
English translation:being ‘balanced’ by having not just one peculiarity

”To have a chip on the shoulder is to have a sensitivity or weakness – often used to mean a bit of an inferiority complex – i.e. someone with a chip on his shoulder isn’t a completely balanced personality (but then who is?). The writer is saying humorously that he has a chip on both shoulders and therefore IS a well-balanced person. ”
(Armorel Young )

The Wikipedia online gives a surprising warning on the use of this, methinks:

”The Wikipedia reader, especially from the UK, should note a “health warning” applied to such comments. Such humour can be, allegedly, more “throw away” in the UK. In Ireland it is quite aggressive satire, even if delivered gently. For that reason, foreigners would be wiser not to make such a remark themselves. Ireland is a far more serious place than visitors may think, and that applies to its humour too.”

In fact, it was a very commonly used expression in our circle in Ireland and most often used by a person exactly like in the film ‘A Beautiful Mind.”

Tis for now. Rii xx

PS.
The picture is off the net with me makeover on the same! So take your pick on the chips…!!

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2 Responses

  1. Hey, interesting post! I’ve always loved that quote. And thanks for commenting on my blog. 🙂 I see you also have an interest in language!

  2. Hei there Liz.
    Thank you for dropping by my page and leaving such a great comment! Yes, I sure do love languages and I was so thrilled to have come across your great site on the same. Rii 🙂

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