Fish or cut bait

Fish or cut bait is phrase originating in the US in the 1800’s, but from where? Fishing, where else. Well, yes and no. It is a common colloquial expression that refers to division of labor. It’s use has expanded over time and now means to be cautions against procrastination and/or indecisiveness. However, one of It’s first documented uses is a little… well, crazy. In 1852 The Opal: A Monthly Periodical of the State Lunatic Asylum used it.

But delicacy is attacked with Epilepsy in depicting so faithfully the results of sane life; the truth needs no commentary; farther, the moral turpitude of such customs, among those who profess so loud, and long, their fortunate position among folks; and hence, their infallibility bids him who indulges his time to pass in their narration, to fish or cut bait.

So what does it mean? No idea, but may have something to do with the magazine being edited by the patients. I guess things worked differently in the 19th century.

At any rate, it reminds me to make a decision about what to do, and then do it. I’m not always very good at it, just ask anyone who’s seen me order lunch.

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