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  • Writer's pictureJohn Selzer

When It's Raining

Rain, rain; go away. Come again another day.

Find yourself on the wrong end of a series of ill-fated events or outcomes, and you are likely to hear the phrase, “When it rains, it pours.” It is usually offered with a tinge of empathy. As if acknowledging your recent run of bad luck is out of your control. You know; just the universe doing its universe-y thing.

But did you know that the phrase actually has positive roots?

(I’ll wait while the mushroom cloud emanating from your blown mind clears.)

In the early 1900s, the Morton Salt Company solved an age-old problem with table salt: it clumped with the slightest hint of humidity in the air. Okay, maybe not the greatest challenge facing humanity at the time, but certainly an annoyance when you went to pour out the proper measure of a key ingredient while whipping up a batch of biscuits.

Reduce the granule size, add an anti-caking agent and voilà. Problem solved: a salt that maintains its sand-like integrity in any conditions. Kudos to you, Morton staff scientists. Now all you need is a catchy slogan to sell your new-and-improved product.

Circa 1914, they found it: “When it rains, it pours.”

Re-read the phrase – but now with the understanding that it is really talking about salt and its, for lack of a better term, performance. You see it now, don’t you? Those words don’t seem so dark and gloomy, after all. In fact, they are borderline empowering. Defiant, even.

Sure, things right now may skew more towards lemon than lemonade. Maybe you are riding out the current streak, waiting for that third shoe to fall to complete the trifecta of misfortune.

Just remember, even though you might not be able to see it until the storm passes, you know that the sun is up there. Right where it is supposed to be. Ready for clearing skies to brighten up the day. To warm your face and skin.

You just have to wait for it.

USELESS TRIVIA: If you want to split hairs, the actual phrase to express dismay over a run of trouble is, “It never rains, but it pours.” Though the exact origin is unknown, this one traces its roots to 18th century England. File that one away for a future trivia night. You’re welcome.


When It's Raining by The Samples

To those that know me, it will come as no surprise that I was a radio DJ in college. Every Thursday night, I was at the helm of WWHS, spinning ‘first wave’ alternative tunes and the like via 92.1 on your radio dial. (Well, if you were in about a 20-mile radius of the Hampden-Sydney College campus, that is.) This song was one of my favorites to play. When it inevitably worked its way into the line up, I would crank up the in-studio speakers and you would most likely find me dancing around foolishly by myself. Also not a surprise to those that know me.

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