So, what's happening with Joachin (who looks ridiculous these days in a big beard and recently performed 3 rap songs in a Vegas nightclub and fell off the stage)?
And also, how did we ever get started using "marbles" to symbolize mental things: sanity and secrets. Everyone has his own personal marbles — "his marbles" — which we only mention when we think they may have been lost. It's always "lost," too. You don't spill your personal marbles. Even if someone has a sudden, public mental breakdown, we don't say: "Oh, no, he's spilling his marbles."
So there are those personal marbles — his marbles, your marbles — and then there are "the marbles." These are shared marbles, even though we never say "our marbles" — Don't spill our marbles — or "their marbles." They're just the marbles. These our secrets, and I suppose we like the image of secrets as something round and spillable that we carry around. And we never just lose these marbles. It's always spill — perhaps because a spill is there to be seen, making a mess. Whereas the lost marbles of sanity are nowhere to be seen. "He's lost his marbles." "Oh, really? Have you looked around for them?" They are really nowhere at all. They've ceased to exist.
Now, it must be said, that the #1 slang definition for "marbles" is "testicles." So, I've got to think that that the idea of losing your marbles or spilling your marbles traces back to testicles. "Spilling the marbles" — don't expose what should be kept covered. And your sanity? I know the etymology of the word "hysterical" is:
1615, from L. hystericus "of the womb," from Gk. hysterikos "of the womb, suffering in the womb," from hystera "womb" (see uterus). Originally defined as a neurotic condition peculiar to women and thought to be caused by a dysfunction of the uterus. Hysterics is 1727; hysteria, abstract noun, formed 1801.So there is this notion that your sanity depends on your sexual parts. Don't lose your marbles!
Anyway, sorry to confront you with testicles so early in the morning. And I hope Joachin is okay... and that he would shave.
IN THE COMMENTS Graham Powell said:
I find it hard to believe that the #1 euphemism for "marbles" is "testicles"as I have heard people refer to nuts, balls, stones, cojones, huevos, etc. etc., but NEVER marbles.
I said "the #1 slang definition for 'marbles' is 'testicles,'" not "the #1 slang definition for 'testicles' is 'marbles.'" It doesn't work both ways!Graham continues:
Interesting side note: The "testicles" tag brings up a truly shocking number of posts.Apparently Graham is new around here. And easily shocked! Did you notice that I made a penis joke in the new Bloggingheads?