Full-boring without a full-deck ... or Bored to be wild

Recently a motorcycle shop opened on my regular route to work. "Full Boar Cycles" slowly penetrated my foggy morning brain, and I began a brief daily fret that for all my years I might have been mistaken about the expression "full bore," as in "she's really going full-bore on that project." I always figured it was a sort of John Henry all out effort, and had to do with mining.

What if I've been mistaken all my born days, and the expression is really "going full boar," like a deranged razorback? That would be embarrassing!

Danger Baby rode with me one morning to be dropped at the DART rail station. He reassured me that "full-bore" is like "full-throttle," but "full boar" is like Harley Davidson hogs--although I'm pleased to report that he had an instant of self-doubt when we passed the cycle shop.

And so that is why I was twiddling my thumbs in the central jury room at the courthouse this morning, fully bored after completing the Sudoku, crossword, and wordsearch puzzles. And that's when I started to worry about Piggy in Lord of the Rings. Did Piggy get his glasses broken, or was he killed? What was the deal with the pig hunt? Did we read William Golding's novel in Mrs. Ehrlich's tenth grade English class, or in Mrs. Barry's eleventh grade class?

Thanks to an online synopsis, I've got those uncivilized boys straightened out, if not the English teachers. Thanks to a 1997 New York Times piece by William Safire, I've got a better idea about "bore," and thanks to the long morning spent not being selected for a jury, my brain is ready for naptime.

''Moving or operating at the greatest speed or with maximum power'' is the Random House definition of the adjective ... Where is it from? ''We are working on an entry on full bore,'' says John Simpson of the O.E.D. ...''and our evidence shows that it derives from the bore meaning 'cylinder.' Full bore is the widest capacity of a cylinder.'' Some lexicographers think the bore first measured an engine cylinder (and have a 1927 citation), while others think that the origin is from the measurement of the inside of the barrel of a gun. ''A .45-caliber gun can take a .44-caliber load,'' John Snyder of the gun lobby tells me, ''so full bore would be the maximum-size load. In another sense, it means 'maximum capable powder load.' ''

As for playing with a full deck, it's not a big deal working with the preschoolers. When we did our end of the school year clean-up, I found lots of long-lost Uno cards under rugs and behind cupboards.

This little piggy went to jury duty,

This little piggy stayed at home,

This little piggy had a dictionary,

And this little piggy had none.

And the last little piggy rode a Harley, all the way home !

Get your motor runnin'

Head out on the information super-highway

Googlin' for adventure

And whatever comes our way

© 2008 Nancy L. Ruder

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