My "metalized paint" post conjured up an old, unrelated memory.
When I was in school, I worked in the Combat Zone in Boston.
Kind of a seedy sort of place (and I'm being kind :> )
One of the guys I used to encounter regularly had a guest
with him one day. Conversation turned to "employment"/careers.
In a very casual manner, this guy's vocation was described as
"He <mumblemumble> and hangs wallpaper" -- or something like this.
It made no sense to me and they both enjoyed a laugh at my expense.
When "translated" into plain english, it was something along the lines
of "<whatever> and writing bad checks" -- *professionally*.
So, my question: what was the likely phrase that was initially
used (mumblemumble) and what was the correct "translation"?
Yes, as I said, he was described as doing "<something> and hanging wallpaper".
I know the reference to "passing bad paper"; what I don't know (remember) is
the other, equally shady, occupation (i.e., its slang expression) that would
accompany this -- in the way that "mashed potatoes and gravy" fit, synergistically.
Having never passed a bad check -- intentionally or otherwise -- its not
the sort of activity I would be fluent discussing! :>
At the risk of being crude and getting Kill Filtered, perhaps they
said, "He's hung and hangs paper" or some variation there of.
Or some other play on hung, like "He's going to get hung 'cause he
hangs paper" or "he's hanging women and hanging paper."
Just trying to help.
On Wed, 30 Dec 2015 09:50:04 -0700, Don Y
This just *rolled* off his tongue. It wasn't like he paused to concoct some
colorful way of describing the action. And, if the <mumblemumble> had
been something obviously criminal ("steals furs"), I wouldn't have been
puzzled by the reply. (As a teenager, I had no exposure to THAT sort
of crime, yet would obviously have recognized the description of a criminal
Doubtful that many folks had so naively asked his "occupation", before. So,
the fact that he could so readily describe it in such a colorful way leads
me to believe it was a common expression -- two "related" activities.
[I've never met anyone to describe their source of income with terms
even vaguely similar to those! :> ]
I'm *sure* it was some other criminal activity! I just have no idea
what sort of criminal activities a "forger" would likely engage in
alongside check kiting, etc.!
The *phrase* rolled off his tongue like it was commonplace ("in those
circles"). He didn't pause to think of some colorful way of presenting
it to a teenager. He stated it matter-of-factly. His friend (the
"criminal" in question) had no problem translating it without thinking
about which "activities" the phrase described.
(Who's to say he only engaged in TWO criminal activities? For all I
know, he could have ALSO been an enforcer, bank robber, pimp, etc.
He apparently lived a rather comfortable lifestyle... He's the one
who showed me the folly of "Chasing the Lady" and how easy it was
to con the rubes out front, on the street!)
This guy was anything but! Very "dapper", dressed to the nines, etc.
The reason I moseyed over to chat with him and my friend was because
he looked *so* "out of place" -- and so unlikely a colleague of my
I can't think of the colloquial phrase but I'm thinking the
mumblemumble might have been about scamming people with "can you
change this $10" slight of hand where you wind up with more than $10
in change when the dust settles... Like "He flips sawbucks and hangs
On Friday, January 1, 2016 at 11:16:57 PM UTC-5, >>>Ashton Crusher wrote:
The technical name is "short change" which was derived from "short con"
which is essentially any con that can be pulled off quickly and easily.
When I was young and working in a corner drugstore in NYC it also had another
name which is I *think* was "the army game" but I could be wrong.
The "army game" was a nickname for the "find the pea" con, which was a type of
short con and therefore the "army game" name may just have been mistakenly
attached to the "short change" con.
When it worked in a corner drug store in NYC, people used to actually try the short
change con on me, but even as a 14 year old kid I could recognize it.
My boss taught me well. On the other hand, he may not have used all of his lessons
very well. A short time after I went in the service my mom sent me a newspaper clipping
telling the story about how my boss was found shot in the back of the head in the back
room of the store, hands tied behind his back. The paper said it looked like the place had
been ransacked and robbed but they could not determine what was missing, I knew better.
The back room *always* looked like it had been ransacked. I'm pretty sure that the killing
was somehow related to the brown paper bags of cash that I often delivered to the cigar
smoking guys in the office of the car wash across the street. I think my boss missed a
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