Posted by Jim on March 13, 2004
In Reply to: "On The Wagon" posted by R. Berg on March 11, 2004
: : I vaguely remember a definition of the phrase being described by a London Taxi Driver on a PBS special several years ago. The taxi driver was driving the streets of London and speaking with the interviewer when something he passed triggered an explanation (my memory of what triggered the discussion is less clear) of the phrase "On The Wagon". He said that when prisoners were being escorted, by wagon (in much older times) to where they were to be executed the guards would stop at a pub and give them a final drink. After their drink the bartender would ask if they wanted another and the guards would say "No, he's On The Wagon". Has anyone heard this before? or can this PBS story be dug up for verification?
: I haven't heard that one. It doesn't sound very plausible. A bartender familiar with the practice you describe would know that each prisoner was entitled to just one drink. He wouldn't ask about a second drink.
: Entering "water wagon" into the archive-search box will get you the usual explanation offered on this forum.
Read the history of AA (Alchoholics' Anonymous)
The group that would collect and bring alchoholics to the shelter each morning by picking them up and putting them "on the wagon" they used, had some get off or fall off to continue or begin drinking again. To "fall off the wagon" was to return to drinking or "go on a bender" after a period of sobriety.