Peeping, Tomcats, Cruise, and All Things “Tom”

“If you try to fail, and succeed, which have you done?”   George Carlin

Yes, I missed my blog yesterday.  But in my defence, I did write.  A LOT.  And then my head hurt.

But now I am re-focussed and totally dedicated to filling your minds with useless morsels of information.   So, here we go…

Really weird things occur to me in the middle of the night and last night, I began to wonder why there are so many negative phrases about people named “Tom.”  Think about it.  There’s the lascivious leering “Peeping Tom,” the word’s most famous sceptic, “Doubting Thomas,” the caterwauling “use the girls and spit them out afterwards” Tomcat, and the phrase that stresses the “average-ness” of every “Tom, Dick, and Harry.”  What has the world got against Toms?  I know lots of Toms and they seem to be really great guys.

I decided to look at the origins of some of these phrases and here is the general consensus.

1) The term “Peeping Tom” started in Coventry, UK when Lady Godiva decided to take a naked horse ride through town to convince her greedy husband to lower the taxes levied against the poor.  (Yes, ladies.  A whole new way to get what you want.  I can hear it now–“give me your credit card or I’ll march through Walmart in the nude.”  My husband might hand over his Visa just to spare the general public.) Apparently, the town agreed to turn their eyes away from her flesh, but one man did not.  This man’s name was, of course, Tom.

2)The Bible’s Doubting Thomas really needs no explanation, so I will move on to the Tomcat–a common word that really has a boring birth story.  Some people have attributed it to Tom & Jerry, but it existed long before this cartoon was even conceived.  It simply stemmed from an eighteenth-century children’s book about a cat named Tom called The Life and Adventures of a Cat.  Quite frankly, I was disappointed.  And now I have disappointed you.

After scouring the Internet, and asking every Tom, Dick, and Harry, it would appear that no one knows the origin of the phrase “Tom, Dick, and Harry.”  I guess a modern-day version would be every “Brandon, Alex, and Cody.”  Somehow, it just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

3)  While we’re on the subject of “Tom’s”, I felt compelled to give a shout out to my fellow Robert Hopkins Public School-ites with a pop culture tidbit on my least favourite Tom, Tom Cruise.

In case you weren’t aware, Mr. Cruise spent  several years of his childhood in Beacon Hill, a neighbourhood in Ottawa’s east end–as did I.  In fact, he attended Robert Hopkins Public School for grades 3, 4, and 5.  I was there for grades 4, 5, and 6.  And we were both taught by Pennyann Styles and Shirley Gaudreau.  Normally, having so much in common with a huge movie star would be exciting, but come on–it’s Tom Cruise.  The Oprah couch-hopping, Scientology-spouting, moron who attacked Brooke Shields for taking medication for her postpartum depression.   Six degrees of separation would never be enough.

2 responses

  1. A fellow Tom Cruise hater-I love it. But I love this blog more. Well done my friend. Also I dreamt I say you in Petawawa and gave you big hug.

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