"Pissing while" | Bleader

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

"Pissing while"

Posted By on 08.29.06 at 06:26 AM

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Last year the journal Social Research had a special issue on "busyness," in which Robert Levine, a professor of psychology at California State University, Fresno, wrote:

"Many people use their social activities to mark time rather than the other way around. In parts of Madagascar, questions about how long something takes might receive an answer like 'the time of a rice cooking' (about half an hour) or 'the frying of a locust' (a quick moment).  Similarly, natives of the Cross River in Nigeria have been quoted as saying 'the man died in less than the time in which maize is not yet completely roasted' (less than fifteen minutes).  Closer to home, not too many years ago the New English Dictionary included a listing for the term 'pissing while'--not a particularly exact measurement, perhaps, but one with a certain cross-cultural translatability."  (It's in the Oxford English Dictionary, which cites usages as far back as Shakespeare.)

Does anyone have personal experience with marking time this way, rather than clockwise?

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