A Porta-John by any other name.
What’s Up With John Kennesaw What in the world is up with John? Who did he make mad? I mean, who would want to go through life having every outhouse and more importantly Porta-John named after them? Why is he the one who receives all break up letters? Some John, somewhere, must have truly made some women, mad. Have Johns throughout history been more prone to patronizing women who work at the oldest profession in the world? Certainly, for this name to have become synonymous with the customers of such women, it must be so. Maybe this explains the Dear John letter thing. Women are so disgusted with Johns; they undoubtedly are forever in search of new and degrading ways to use the name. Okay I found some of the answers, but they may be more disturbing than the questions. The toilet was invented in 1596, but not by Thomas Crapper as most believe. It was invented by a Godson to Queen Elizabeth I, Sir John Harington. This was where the name started, however it was further solidified during the time of Robin Hood. After a long absence, King Richard the Lion Heart returned to find his kingdom in shambles. For his Brother Prince John’s, inept dealing with Robin Hood and his Merry Men, he decreed that the toilet and his brothers name be forever tied together. Harington only produced two toilets before his death. The first was installed in his castle and the second in Queen Elizabeth’s. That one was only ordered because he was her Godson. I guess leaves, and the cold night air remained in fashion for centuries to come. Go ahead just try not to imagine the Queen with poison ivy on her backside. Thomas Crapper was a plumber who would do much to bring the toilet in from the outdoors. While he did not invent it, he figured out a way to turn the John into a money making apparatus. Most people were concerned with the delivery of food to one end of the process; Thomas made his fortune taking care of the other. Dear John and wait, there are Dear Jane letters too, seemed to have originated during World War II. At that time, John was the most common name in America. Also, all letters sent to servicemen overseas were always started with the names used between love ones. Dear Johnny, Davie, Sammy, when the one sent to end a relationship was addressed it changed to a curt form of the given name. Therefore, Johnny became John and so on. The popularity of the name John would also go on to create other uses for it in our culture. For example, John smith as an alias, and John or Jane Doe for unidentified bodies. The letters sent home to inform the family of the death of a loved one during World War II became known as John Doe letters. The last contributor to the forming of a Dear John letter was a popular Soap Opera which ran in America, on the radio from 1933 to 1944. John: An anonymous, obscure or unknown person. We all know that men would never lie. I say this as I dodge rotten lettuce and tomatoes. The practice of calling prostitutes customers John which is used by prostitutes and Law Enforcement personnel, alike, originated because so many men introduced themselves as John regardless of their real names. Imagine that. John has now become generic for man. If we are to discuss this further, we must investigate those Joneses. My grandmother was a Jones, and while she was the proud owner of not one, but three outhouses at the same time, she was not particularly wealthy. In fact, most of her family could have been kept up with, using only a broken down wagon or a bicycle with loose spokes. Turns out the Joneses were one of the wealthiest families in New York at the turn of the century. The Astors, Vanderbilts and many others, built their wealth simply by trying to catch up with the Joneses. There was also a popular comic strip, which was started in 1913 by Pop Momand, it ran for 26 years and eventually became popularized in books, radio and movies. In it, the Joneses were never actually seen, but were annoying, pretentious neighbors of the comic strips heroes. It appears the use of the word Jonesing: craving or strong desire is directly related to the act of keeping up with the Jones. However, it became associated with heroin addiction during the sixties, it and a similar word tripping have now become part of our everyday speech. I think I should close with two additional definitions. Idiomatic expression: an expression whose meanings cannot be inferred from the meanings of the words that make it up. Idiotic Expression: any word or phrase, written or verbally communicated by Kennesaw Taylor.