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"Lettin[g] the rough side drag."

Posted by R. Berg on December 02, 2005

In Reply to: "Lettin[g] the rough side drag." posted by ESC on December 01, 2005

: : "Lettin[g] the rough side drag." I first saw this phrase in a Texas appeals court opinion back in the 1950's or 1960's. I don't recall the context but the judge was wondering what it meant. I searched without success for years. Finally, an African American friend in East Texas told me it is usually a response to "how are you doing?" or some such greeting. It means, according to her, "I'm having a bad day." Other than in the court opinion, I've never seen it in print. Anyone have any information about this one?

: It was a line in a song. Jesse Winchester:

: Let The Rough Side Drag

: It's a good thing the sea's not dry
: Such a good thing that cows don't fly
: What a good thing to make a joyful noise
: It's a good thing that beds don't talk
: Such a good thing that chairs can't walk
: What a good thing that God made girls and boys

: Let the rough side drag
: Let the smooth side show
: While you pull that load
: Everywhere you go...

: (Now we need to figure out what was being dragged.)

I hadn't heard this expression before. The last verse of the lyrics suggest "keeping the sunny side up" - I've got troubles, but I'm hiding them for the sake of being pleasant.