Monday, June 18, 2012

Etiquette rule - factoid of the day

Pirate "Dangerous Dan" below decks in the mess hall of the Bounty. The sign on the wall next to him explains that the rule against eating with your elbows on the table originated in the days when press gangs roamed the taverns looking for men to kidnap for the Royal Navy. When at sea, you'd keep your food from sliding off the table when the boat was struck by waves, by corralling the food in the crook of your elbow, so the habit of eating with your elbows on the table marked you as an experienced mariner. An obviously experienced mariner was a prime target, so was MORE likely to get kidnapped again than someone who was visibly a landlubber. Thus, being seen with your elbows on the table was bad luck. (Note also the ropes hanging the table at the outer edge. When the ship was heeling, these could be adjusted as the precursor to gimbals.)  

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