For those of you new to the planet, the term is an idiomatic phrase meaning to sacrifice another person (often a friend or ally), who is usually not deserving of such treatment, out of malice or for personal gain. Apparently, it was picked up by the mainstream media during the 2008 primary season when it was frequently been used to describe various politicians distancing themselves from unpopular or controversial figures. David Segal, a writer for The Washington Post, went on to call the expression "the cliché of the 2008 campaign." Well guess what, Dave? We are leading up to a new primary season, and all I can ask myself, is, Why! Dear Lord! Why?! must I keep having to hear this phrase day after day?
There must have been a time when the term was fresh as a summer breeze and didn't stink up the joint like it does now, non? According to Wikipedia (where, sadly, there is an entire entry for it. Yes. Really.), the phrase harkens back to the writer Charles Bukowski, purveyor of all things skid row. In his work Septugenarian Stew published in 1990, one of his characters, Harry, pushes his friend, Monk, in front of a bus. While Monk lays unconscious and probably dying in the street, Harry steals his wallet and goes directly to a bar where he spends Monk's money by buying himself two double whiskeys. Later, he goes to a steakhouse where, again, using Monk's money, buys two beers and two Porterhouse steaks with fries. Go easy on the grease, he tells the waiter.
It is not a moment that launched a thousand Hallmark cards, to be sure. But a catch phrase? Could Bukowski have known that this scene would paint an image that would inspire millions - some, like me, to complete and utter distractions- each day? Maybe this is the silver lining, then. Maybe this is Bukowski's revenge: that he managed to wheedle his way into the zeitgeist way past his due date. When you look at it that way, all I can say is, Touche, sir. Well played. But to the rest of you who insist on keeping the bus-throwing dream alive I say this: Stop. Saying. That. NOW! Go easy on the grease.