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Picking at the daises

Posted by Brian from Shawnee on July 11, 2010 at 03:44

In Reply to: Picking at the daises posted by ESC on July 10, 2010 at 12:41:

: : When someone gets agitated and starts to pick at the sheets or their clothes why do we say they are 'picking at the daises'?

: A guess. Health care professionals -- previously known as doctors and nurses -- probably came up with that. Like "making the O sign," dying, tongue out. Black humor.

In the movie Harvey, when Mr. Wilson encounters Veta picking flowers for Elwood outside Chumley's Rest, he invites her to instead "come inside and pick some off the wallpaper" (or something), thinking Veta is actually the crazy one. I've never seen it on stage but I imagine there is a similar scene in the play. So, I wonder if in mental health facilities (formerly called lunatic asylums) it was common for the warders to believe patients wanted to pick flowers off the wallpaper, blankets, and sheets.