Monday, February 25, 2008
Do me a solid is a wonderful new phrase that has made an appearance in the modern lexicon. It means do me a favor, but conveys a shading of the favor between friends that the Clarion most appreciates. A favor is an act of grace, consideration or sympathy. Certainly, nothing to be looked askance at, but rather to be accepted with humble gratitude and returned grace.
However, in our view, modern American society, as epitomized by the Mafia movie, has exploited the favor, turning it into a quid pro quo. A quid pro quo is in fact something quite different than a favor, it is an act done, rather than out of kindness or grace, with the expectation of the return action in mind. It is done in the mindset of, "I do this because; then you will owe me (one.) And I will be able to call on you when I need it."
Do me a solid has made an end around that kind of favor to recapture the original essence of the deed. A solid is not a favor that creates or carries with it an obligation, beyond the mutual obligation to care for one another that is inherent in real friendship. It is rather doing the right thing, the obvious act of grace. A friend comes to you in need, you do not tote up the score of whom has helped whom most recently and how much. If they say do me a solid, they need you. To do a solid is to do the right thing in that kind of situation, unquestioningly, with no expectation of return. Friends are always in each other's debt. Friends are solid. You can count on them.
“There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves.” –Jane Austen
I believe you fail to consider the loose bowels scenario here. Not everyone can just do a morning solid on command. Depends on dinner's ingredients, no?
Perhaps, the phrase, "Drop a load," which could be either wet or dry, would work better when you head off into the woods. And by the by, don't forget the t.p. when ya go.
To do a solid is to go above and beyond the norm, to provide more to the recipient than the amount of help provided to a casual acquaintance, to give something of value (whether time, money, or emotional/physical effort) in such quantity that costs you something of yourself to give it, and therefore is not lightly given away.
A Google search turned up "Do me a solid" in a 1991 Seinfeld episode: http://www.seinfeldscripts.com/TheJacket.htm.
Excellent research, who knew that the phrase "Do me a solid..." went back so far. I guess the kids are just re-popularizing something that was already hip eons ago. Thanks for the heads up.
Down a bit on the thread, mplsray includes an earlier reference for this phrase.
"Do me a solid" is listed under the entries for the year 1973 in the book Year by Year in the Rock Era, 1987 by Herb Hendler, viewable in preview via Google Books, included in a section on page 161 labeled "Some of the More Widely Used Argot, Jargon and Slang of the Rock Era"
It's all a way of using language as power -- in this case, making outsiders of people who use, understand, and communicate in standard language.
This kind of maneuver has roots in every oppressed group I ever heard of -- recently American blacks -- who at once want to talk so only they understand one another, and to make fun of others who can't possibly understand them.
Standard English works. This sucks.
(So to speak.)