Posted by Sarah on March 16, 2007
In Reply to: Cactus posted by R. Berg on March 15, 2007
: : : : : : Does anyone know the origin of, or use the phrase "(Well), better get back to the cactus" as a way of saying they are going back to work after a break. I have only heard it used in my town.
: : : : : Perhaps you have a local wordsmith hammering out new potential clichés. A work environment full of cactus is pretty thorny, and you're like to get thorns in your side--and everywhere else. I've never heard the phrase, but perhaps "back to the salt mine" has had its day as a metaphor, and we're ready for a new one.
: : : : : SS
: : : : It's sounds like the punchline to a joke. The other day as a little social gathering at work broke up, a guy said, "Coffee break's over. Everybody on their heads." I was the only one that laughed. He said that was because I'm an oldster. Well. Anyway the joke goes a little like this:
: : : : A new soul arrives in Hell and is being taken on a tour before selecting where he'll spend eternity. There are various tortures in various areas. Finally he is shown a room where people are drinking coffee while sitting on stools, waist-deep in sh*t.
: : : : He saids, "This looks tolerable. I pick this room."
: : : : Just then someone announces: "Coffee break's over. Everybody on their (his/her) head."
: : Yes, I heard the joke long ago in the last century. The dialogue was a bit different, but not by much, and there wasn't any coffee. "Everybody on your heads!" For a time you had only to say that and you'd get a laugh.
: : SS
: The version I heard didn't have coffee, either. Maybe the phrase in question alludes to a joke about cactus, one so new that nobody's heard it yet. ~rb
The cactus phrase is at least 25 years old and is used now and then- must be a regional thing. I also vaguely remember that joke.