Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Section 8

Citing the president's conduct during recent media interviews, opinion columnist Paul Krugman says Donald Trump may be coming unglued.

"Senior moments, when you can’t remember a name or phrase, or misremember where it came from, happen to many of us," Krugman writes.

"But that Economist interview was basically one long senior moment—and it wasn’t very different from other recent interviews with the commander in chief."

Trump indeed looks long in the tooth, and thus vulnerable to senior moments.

My parents—both dyed-in-the-wool Democrats and World War II veterans—would have sided with Krugman and called Trump a "Section 8."

During that war, servicemen and women battling psychiatric problems fell under Section 8 of
US Army Regulation 615-360. Anyone who merely hinted he was cuckoo would be evaluated by a "Section 8 board" and discharged. His fellows would call him a "Section 8."

If Trump looks old, know that the phrase "long in the tooth" is even older.

It comes from 16th-century animal husbandry. Sheep's and horses' teeth, unlike humans', grow longer with age, so a breeder could tell an animal's age from the length of its teeth (and still can).

The phrase "dyed in the wool" also comes from the 16th century, when wool-production was England's largest industry. When wool is dyed before it's turned into yarn, the color becomes fixed and unyielding.
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