Busier than a one-armed paper hanger

One of the cliches in my popular book, Most Comprehensive Origins of Cliches, Proverbs and Figurative Expressions is “Busier than a one-armed paper hanger. The entry reads like this:

Busier than a one-armed paper hanger

This humorous analogy has been in common use in the U.S. since at least the early twentieth century. Sometimes it is expanded to say, ‘with hives’ or ‘on a windy day.’ The meaning is clear, too busy for one’s own good. Despite the fact that someone who writes useless checks is also known as a ‘paper hanger,’ this applies to the obvious—hanging wallpaper—a task which requires both hands to perform properly.

An early example is found in St. Nicholas, an illustrated magazine for boys and girls, Volume 45, Part 2 by Mary Maples Dodge, in a section called Daddy Pat’s Letters from the Front, 1919:

“Daddy has been busier than a one-armed paper-hanger, and it has been awful hard to find time to write.” 

Well, as of late it seems that I have been about that busy, and unable to “get my head together” to do regular entries.

I am currently working on three books from three different authors and expecting more. Add to that other obligations what is coming up like a class reunion in North Carolina, and vacation and research in New England for the book series, Exploring Our Exciting World, well…this is going to get worse. Then I will be having surgery and be incapacitated for several weeks. Oh well, that’s life, and I enjoy mine immensely.

In the meantime, visit our website at http://stclairpublications.com and order a great book. You can also find them at all Amazon sites around the world, or order them from your favorite book retailer.

My best to all!.