Posted by Steve E on January 16, 2007
In Reply to: Wake up and die right posted by DavidFG on January 16, 2007
: : : : Is there such a phrase as "wake up and die right"
: : : Well, if there wasn't before, there is now. Inventing new turns of phrase is not just for novelists and poets and such; it's perfectly legal for anyone to take the language out for a spin.
: : : Now, as to whether it's a *famous* or often-quoted phrase, I'll leave that up to others. It's new to me.
: : It sounds like a turn on the traditional "Straighten up and fly right," perhaps with contamination from "Wake up and smell the coffee." ~rb
: Having launched this phrase (it is new to me, too) you now have to decide what it means.
That phrase has been around at least as long as I have--short of 60 years. I always understood it to mean that the person you are saying it to is so dense or slow on the uptake or "deer in the headlights" or just plain not with it that they would have to actually wake up in order to die properly. It is usually said with some frustration or exasperation: "Oh, for God's sake, wake up and die right!"