You know that oft used expression, “Fair to middling?” I’m sure you use it at least once a day. No? Well, you’re an odd duck, aren’t you?
Anyway, it came up during a conversation my office mate had. Possibly with herself because she has been kind of stressed and been prone to ramble at peculiar times lately.
Keep in mind she speaks with a thick Texan accent. So sometimes I have to use the context of her sentence to figure out her words. No offense to any Texans out there but Texlish is not always easily understood. At least, by us Wyomingites. Sorry if that is a surprise.
“Fair to middling,” she said and I can’t remember why.
I continued to look at my computer monitor.
“I wonder where that saying came from?” she asked.
I shrugged my shoulders but didn’t look up. If I had an answer I would have chimed in.
“Think it comes from Midland Texas?” she happens to hail from Midland.
I gave her a courtesy laugh.
“Or Michigan? Are there any other Midlands?”
Wait, what? I looked up and could tell she was serious.
“It’s fair to middling,” I said slowly still unsure if she was yanking my chain.
“Midland,” she repeated.
“Middling,” I emphasized the ing this time. She never believes me so I quickly consulted with Google. C’mon Google, be on my side this time, I thought. Google usually takes her side when we have these little discussions. I did manage to win it over during our debate about whether or not American Idol Randy Jackson is the same as Michael’s brother Randy (for the record the answer is no). But it has been a long dry spell since then.
The first option populated as “fair to Midland.”
I think my whole face hit the floor. What?
The second choice read “fair to middling.” Whew, that’s better. I clicked on that. Since I was at work I couldn’t exactly click on a link for more information. Our IT guys frown upon that. But I gathered enough information to find out the phrase is in fact, “fair to middling” and “fair to Midland” is some weird variation of it.
Sweet! Dry spell ended.
Since I tend to lock onto a subject for the day, I decided to Google it again right before bed. I bet you’re wondering where the phrase came from now, aren’t you? Let me put your mind to rest and say, despite popular belief (well, popular in a certain large State of the Union) it was not born in Midland Texas. But if you’re curious, check out this link.
Keep in mind though, if I had enough pull, I’d be spreading the “fa’r to Midland” phrase like crazy. Definition still unknown at this point.