In So Many Words

Books of Educational and Informational Comics from Larry Paros


Book X: One Nation... (Politics)

Bagging It

The headline read: "Congress bags budget, people left holding bag." It's all pretty confusing. "What is our representatives' bag?" you might ask.

When cockfights were in vogue, owners used to bring their birds to the pits in a sack. Asked their chance of victory, they'd confidently remark, "It's in the bag," a term we use today as a general expression of assurance.

The Romans confidently kept their coins in a small leather bag called a bulga, creating the bulge in our pockets. It also gave us the Old French bougette or "wallet/bag," making for our budget — a bag now bulging to the breaking point and demanding our attention.

Byrsa is Greek for the leather of which the bag was made. This gave us our bursar, "a financial officer of a college or university," as well as our purse. When you next purse your lips, think of it as a small bag, closed by pulling a thong — just like when you pucker up, from the French, faire des poches, "to make little bags."

This is especially appropriate when reading about the multi-trillion dollar Federal budget. It'll help you understand that when it comes to government spending, you can truly kiss your dollars goodbye.