Today a coworker here in Kentucky said, "I was on the dumb end of the tape measure." Her supervisor was questioning a printing overrun. Her handwriting was on the job order. But she just filled out the form and didn't actually perform the task. This was her way of saying, I wasn't in a position of authority - it's not my fault. Origin: two people using a tape measure with one simply holding down an end (the dumb end) and the other actually pulling out the tape and noting the measurement.