Monday, March 16, 2009

Cool Beans, sir

A sound travels across a wet, chilly spring morning. It is the sound of an Australian tenor opera singer gargling garlic juice while ripping haute couture petticoats into bandages for the victims of a sudden and bloody European civil war. However, the scene is America and there are no vocalists of any nationality within range. The sound emitted from The Answer Phone's curious beverage maker. The insulated reservoir, which was apparently under a great deal of pressure, has split open. A shredded complex of bamboo lattice work once contained in the mysterious device has been blown across the counter, a set for a miniature production of Les Miserable's barricade scene.

An idea man ("an idea man, see? I deal in ideas, see?") with a bamboo cane, smelling of freshly paved highways and duck feathers, asks:

How did "cool beans" enter and establish itself in the American vernacular?

The Answer Phone is glad to answer your question. However, I am currently on hold with an important supplier's technical support line.

The irony of the situation is not lost on me, I assure you all.

I can fully dedicate myself to this question while I am listening to the droning asian hold music that is apparently the preferred choice for corporate image of this sort of business. I would not know, having never found it necessary to call them. The situation, however, is quite dire and so I am here, a phone on the phone. Tapping my fingers, drinking water. Plain old water. Nice pure clear water. The Universal Solvent. Just fine.

I will address as much of your question as I can until someone comes on the line to help me out with this situation in which I find myself bound up. Should I be interrupted before coming to a stopping place, it may be up to The Answer Phone Cloud to chime in and complete this answer. Please, if you are qualified, feel free to chime in.

And so: Cool Beans and the American Vernacular:

Upon landing on the Amerigan (as he preferred to call it until his dying day) mainland, Amerigo Vespucci came upon a large rodent grasping in its cute but clawed hands a small shell. He recorded in his letter to his Medici patron that the rodent then wandered off into the forest. Amerigo thought little about the incident until

Oh, hi there Komiko. Thank you for taking my call. I am calling from America... yes yes America. I understand. I I I understand Komiko. Yes, well, it is a special situation and I need your understanding. I am certain we can find a way. That treaty has not, as I understand it, yet been fully ratified by all parties...

(I am going to have to leave it at that for now. Once again, I call on The Answer Phone community to fill in the rest of this response.)


  1. I have a bean loosener myself. Of Italian origin. It cost me plenty and it makes me pay attention.
    Cool beans actually derives from the American colloquial habit of referring to aunts via marriage as "Auntie Beans."

  2. I'm only guessing, but I'll head to first base and hope the manager puts in a pinch runner.

    "...large rodent" refers to "ratified." That is all I know. I'm adjusting the brim of my running hat in case a PR doesn't show up.