May 18, 2013

People who live in the city are apparently so frazzled...

... that there need to be articles explaining the information that it's relaxing to take a walk in the park. 

A walk in the park is a cliché that signifies an extremely easy activity. If you don't know a walk in the park is relaxing, how on earth do these city people survive in the hectic, harried environment I keep reading about?

In other cliché-based advice to frazzled city folk, let me suggest a picnic and a piece of cake. But remember: You can't eat your cake and have it. (Which is often, confusingly, put in reverse chronological order as You can't have your cake and eat it, or as we coddled Baby Boomers like to think: "You can have your cake and eat it too.")

Which is the oldest of those 4 clichés? It's You can't eat your cake and have it, going all the way back to 1562, according to the (unlinkable) OED:
1562   J. Heywood Prov. & Epigr. (1867) 79   What man, I trow ye raue, Wolde ye bothe eate your cake, and haue your cake?
A walk in the park is traced back to 1937:
1937   Amer. Speech 12 155/2   A walk in the park is their [sc. golf caddies'] facetious way of referring to a nine-hole round.
A piece of cake goes back to 1936:
1936   O. Nash Primrose Path 172   Her picture's in the papers now, And life's a piece of cake.
Picnic, in the colloquial figurative sense, is a little older:
1870   J. J. McCloskey Across Continent in America's Lost Plays (1940) 81   Oh, wouldn't that fellow be a picnic for me!

33 comments:

edutcher said...

considering most big cities are run by the Obamacrats these days, the word may not be frazzled as much as regimented.

A lot of these people probably think the Sierra Club or something will come after them if they actually step on the grass.

Seeing Red said...

I call BS on being harried, especially in NYC - we're bombarded about how wonderful it is, living in shoe boxes, not needing material things & having 24-hour takeout.

Seeing Red said...

Besides, now that we're starting to prepare for our future robot overlords, we'll have plenty of time to smell the roses.

ampersand said...

For Boomers the phrase should be " You can have your cake and eat it then bitch and moan until someone gives you their cake."

Chip Ahoy said...

Parks around here get very heavy use. It aint natural.

They're having American Ninja tryouts right now down the street.

In the other direction, crosses arms, is a neighborhood place so packed when I saw it in between Buckhorn Exchange and Dojo restaurants by the RR tracks. People actually crack open piñatas.

I always wanted to crack open a piñata, but I didn't want to be blindfolded to do it, and not with some unblindfolded jerk yanking on a rope to make sure I never even have a chance to hit it. And everybody laughs. What a bummer. And then just buying one and ripping is open doesn't sound good either, so turns out I don't want to do that at all. I don't even want to touch one actually. I go through this same thing every time I see one.

Chip Ahoy said...

I saw the Marines in the park practicing delivering Obama in a litter. Fascinating. They're sharp as ever. I might have possibly made up a portion of this.

Basta! said...

Since when are urban parks safe?

I live a few blocks from Franklin Park, and you'd better be on the qui vive if you take a stroll through there --- it's the opposite of a relaxing jaunt.

I also recall reports of nasty, really nasty, stuff happening in Central Park NYC.

Maybe this is why I get anxious in rural areas, and generally avoid them (no hiking for me): I'm SURE there's an axe-murderer lurking behind every tree.

fivewheels said...

I tend to prefer manmade sights to nature: I like architecture and art, but a tree is a tree is a tree. So I enjoy my walks in the city. Plus you can get frogurt on the way.

I never found it distracting or somehow difficult to navigate. I didn't get past the article telling me that people get frazzled trying not to get run over. Maybe idiots do.

ricpic said...

City parks are great on workday mornings when all the worker bees have gone back to doing whatever they do and us flanneurs have room to wander around sans purpose, the true key to le 'appiness.. It's le weekend that makes the parks impossible.

AllenS said...

Taking a walk through a city park is especially relaxing and enjoyable when you have your pistol with you.

glenn said...

Ampersand gets the two horns and a tail award today.

Joe said...

Come to suburbia, where relaxation and open space are commonplace.

Titus said...

We went to a "park" today a block from my expensive fab loft in a very desirable zip code.

The park is about the size of my parents back yard and there were like 500 people there.

We looked like a bunch of seals on top of each other enjoying our little "park".

tits and thanks.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...


Feral minority youths, among whom striking Whites gets peer respect, own the parks pretty much any time they want.

A single female, for sure, would be a fool to take a walk there.

Welcome to Obama's America.

David said...

"how on earth do these city people survive in the hectic, harried environment I keep reading about?"

Stimulants, tranquilizers, alcohol, sex, shopping, complaining about the less sophisticated, more shopping, quack doctors and treatments, yoga, binge eating, binge drinking, binge sex, global warming activism, shopping again, dinner and a show, limos, massage, manicures, hair treatments, skin treatments, foot treatments, shopping, shopping, shopping, counseling, psychoactive drugs, still more shopping.

Coketown said...

Walking in general is relaxing. It doesn't have to be in a park any more than sex has to be in a bed. In fact, that's usually the least enjoyable place to have it.

Anyway, I was biking to work until I realized it was more leisurely to walk. Even if you ride on the sidewalk, you're still part of Traffic--constantly interacting with cars. But walking is more measured, more amenable. One feels detached from Traffic.

I've even started walking without headphones. Absorbing the sounds of the world is relaxing and spiritually edifying. Apart from traffic, but a part of the world. It might as well be 1830 because my favorite part of the day is the 30 minutes in the morning I spend just walking and thinking.

But come on! Obama and the Umbrellas?! AHAHAHAHA!!!!!!

DADvocate said...

I'd love to take a walk in the park, but I live out in the country. Finding a park out here isn't a cake walk. I just walk down the road and back instead. But, while I'm walking I worry about wild animals attacking me - I'm so frazzled.

Titus said...

I turn into a pumpkin if I leave the city.

tits and thanks.

jaed said...

Plus you can get frogurt on the way.

I read that as "frogart" for some reason. Which sounds very pleasant. Go for a walk on a drizzly day, and see a spontaneous exhibition of frog-themed art!

Titus said...

When I leave the city my balls begin to lose their shine and lustre. My cock deflates. I breakout in a rash and when I jerky jerky no cum cums out and because I beat my meat so hard I have a little cut on my peepee and can't touch it for a week.

totally not worth it.

tits and thanks.

Carnifex said...

I used to walk in the country until I saw the video of a man getting arrested for carrying his rifle in an offensive manner. (I assume he was carrying it badly) Since then I have modified my behavior, and merely pack concealed in the city.

I'm much more relaxed now, and aren't you glad? :-)

Carnifex said...

@Titus

Not a fan of Broke Back Mountain?

Dante said...

I saw the Marines in the park practicing delivering Obama in a litter. Fascinating.

Did they have the fawning press throwing rose petals in front?

And of course, the Feministers waiting for a chance at the golden God's staff?

AJ Lynch said...

I go to hike and bike in Wissahickon Park in Phllly a lot. I am surprised how few people use it.

Titus said...

I am East Coast City Girl.

I like the "bitchy factor".

Boston is known to be on the rudest cities in the U.S. and I do my part to enforce it on any tourists who walk my streets-a little pushy at them when walking by looking up and down at their clothes and rolling my eyes at them.

I even heard some tourist with a horrible dumb southern accent say, after I gave them a crusty, "these people are so rude" and I felt terrific.

Being "friendly" is freaky.

tits and thanks.

fivewheels said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
fivewheels said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
fivewheels said...

So I just went for a little afternoon stroll, leisurely browsed in a comic book shop, picked up some pipe tobacco, grabbed a nice pour-over cup of coffee, then sat here and enjoyed the view while I had a smoke.

Very relaxing. And I happily walked past a park to do it.

(Edited for link trouble)

SGT Ted said...

City people are so provincial these days.

SGT Ted said...

I read that as "frogart" for some reason.

Don't frogart that joint, my friend.

Titus said...

What do country people do for jobs?

Heaven knows all their kids leave immediately to large cities. Or if they happen to be a dumb box of rocks they stay there and become crack addicts.

tits and thanks.

glenn said...

Talk to me about frazzled when you are working sunup to sundown seven days a week like my farmworker Grandfather did.

Sam L. said...

We all knew there was something terribly, terribly wrong with city people.