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Asking the Green, As One Does...
June 30, 2014 12:19 PM   Subscribe

Is there a known origin point for the phrase "as one does" (or "like you do" or similar variations), when used to indicate that the speaker is aware of how ridiculous an action is? For instance, "I was at the supermarket at three in the morning, offering the cashier ten bucks for an early box of Count Chocula -- as one does -- and...."
posted by Etrigan to Writing & Language (12 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Not that it answers your question, but it was used as a serious expression previous to the ironic uses that are current, so I am guessing this will be difficult to find an origin. People make fun of phrases almost as fast as the phrases catch on.

I'd drop languagehat a memail and see what he says.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:24 PM on June 30


You can find it at least as early as 1889 in Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men in a Boat. I am sure it was not new even then.
posted by ubiquity at 12:40 PM on June 30 [2 favorites]


He didn't invent it, of course, but I feel like this bit (at :12) from Eddie Izzard's Dress to Kill is the moment that made it a kind of meme, at least among my cohort.
posted by scody at 1:26 PM on June 30 [10 favorites]


Came in to say "Eddie Izzard" as the popularizer of this phrase as sarcasm.

"Walking my ferret in the park, like you do..."
posted by supercres at 2:38 PM on June 30 [2 favorites]


I seem to recall hearing it non-ironically in the UK. I've noticed the ironic usage in the last 3 years or so.
posted by theora55 at 5:35 PM on June 30


Yeah, with people I know, the ironic "like you do" is pretty much universally treated as an Eddie Izzard quotation, to the point where I have friends who will quote other lines from Dress To Kill at you if you say it.

I am 100% sure he didn't originate it, but he definitely popularized it among my generation of North American nerds.
posted by nebulawindphone at 5:48 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


The phrases I am used to seeing that resemble this use the word 'wont.'

'I was at the supermarket at three in the morning, offering the cashier ten bucks for an early box of Count Chocula -- as one is wont to do -- and....'

'Walking my ferret in the park, as I am wont to do...'

'Asking the Green, as is my wont.'

etc.

Seems conceivable that the very odd-sounding 'wont', which I can't recall encountering in a non self-referential use outside of such a phrase, could have evaporated out of those phrases altogether, leaving things like "as one does" behind, along with a whiff of the cloud of eccentric absurdity that invariably enveloped it.
posted by jamjam at 6:08 PM on June 30 [2 favorites]


I've used "naturally" or "as you do" in this context, but I'd say it's more sarcastic or facetious than ironic.
posted by a halcyon day at 7:41 PM on June 30


It was very much a UK thing pre-dress to kill.

I would strongly doubt any british person watching Dress to kil lwhen it was released would consider that to be a comic invention of Izzard.

I seem to recall a newman and baddiell sketch complaining about this ironic use of it at least 5 years before.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 2:24 AM on July 1 [2 favorites]


Another Izzard vote here in North America.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 7:50 AM on July 1


I would strongly doubt any british person watching Dress to kil lwhen it was released would consider that to be a comic invention of Izzard.

No one is suggesting that he invented it, just that it might have been the moment (on this side of the pond) where it began to become more widely spoken.
posted by scody at 10:32 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


That wasn't quite my point. I was just trying to clarify that it was a verbal tic (to the point of annoyance) long before that in the UK.
It seems probable that that was the earliest US exposure to it.

(also you should all go watch Newman and Baddiel in pieces, it's so 90's)
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 2:48 PM on July 1


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