But the 1957 book "American Speech" tells us about its use in speech, which goes back to 1942:
In 1942, when I entered the U.S. Army..the disparaging term that's for the birds was in common use among officers and enlisted men... The metaphor alludes to birds eating droppings from horses and cattle.So "for the birds" is a way of saying "shit"!
This is especially amazing to me this morning as I'm pursuing a bird theme this morning, but I'd gone off-theme in the previous post to talk about Maureen Dowd's column and encountered the expression "sad sack" and learned for the first time that it's a short version of the WWII military slang "sad sack of shit."
How many more common expressions have a hidden shit theme dating back to World War II? If I encounter another one this morning by accident, it's going to feel cosmic. And don't tell me "cosmic" WWII slang for Coincidence Of Shit Metaphors In Combat.