MIAGD: Make it a great day
The past several mornings I’ve taken breakfast in my study due to the cooler morning temperatures despite the bright blue skies and singing birds.
I like lemons. I love lemonade.
The phrase, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade” has always made me chuckle because it seems the most obvious thing to do. But, why view lemons as something negative?
I actually researched the tart phrase:
Evan Morris over at The Word Detective, answering a similar query, has some helpful musings.
He argues “that despite all the good lemons have done, they’ve suffered from an image problem since the dawn of their cultivation—due primarily to their stinging acidity and tough skins.”
The word “lemon” comes to us from the Old French “limon,” which was derived from Arabic roots and served as a generic term for citrus fruit in general (which explains how the same root could also give us “lime”). The use of “lemon” to mean “disappointing result” or “something unwanted” is very old, reflecting the fact that, while useful in cooking, a lemon standing alone is just a lump of sourness with a tough skin to boot. In Shakespeare’s play Love’s Labours Lost (1598), for instance, one character proclaims, “The armipotent Mars, of lances the almighty, Gave Hector a gift …,” to which another puckishly suggests, “A lemon.”
In the mid-19th century, “lemon” was used as a colloquial term for a person of a “tart” disposition, as well as, more significantly for our purposes, slang for a “sucker” or “loser,” a dim person easily taken advantage of. It has been suggested that this latter use stems from the idea that it is easy to “suck or squeeze the juice out of” such a person (“I don’t know why it is, rich men’s sons are always the worst lemons in creation,” P.G. Wodehouse, 1931). By 1909, “lemon” was also firmly established in American slang as a term for “something worthless,” especially a broken or useless item fobbed off on an unsuspecting customer.
It’s likely that the current use of “lemon” to mean “something that doesn’t live up to its billing” or “a disappointing purchase” comes from a combination of “lemon” in the “sucker” sense (i.e., the buyer got “taken”) and the much older sense of “lemon” meaning “something undesirable.”
Times are frail with high tension. Some might say we’ve each been handed a bag of lemons.
If that’s the case, pull out the pitcher, fill it with water, squeeze those gifted lemons, add sugar, and start stirring like hell, and make the best lemonade, ever.
When the pitcher is empty, fill it back up with more lemonade.
Make lemonade and make it a great day!
Resource: Evan Morris at The Word Detective; https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/53509/why-lemon-for-a-faulty-or-defective-item