Tom Foolery

Growing up, my dad would say to me, “I don’t want any tomfoolery”.  I always assumed this meant he didn’t want me to misbehave.  Technically, it refers to foolish behavior or nonsense (also good advice, I suppose). 

Its first recorded use was in 1812 and it stems from the Middle English Thom Foole, personification of a mentally deficient person.    Tom Foolery also happens to be the name of a musical revue based on the songs of Tom Lehrer that opened in London in the 1950s.   Lehrer, in addition to being a thirsty spirit, is a mathematician, teacher, composer, singer-songwriter, pianist and satirist who graduated from Harvard at the age of 18.  I’ve read that his favorite drink is a gin martini and he’s the self-proclaimed inventor of the Jell-O shot. 

One of the songs in the first act is titled, “Bright College Days” and Lehrer muses about college drinking:

Hearts full of youth, hearts full of truth
Six parts gin to one part vermouth

That sounds like tomfoolery to me.

1 Comment

Filed under Alcohol in Music

One response to “Tom Foolery

  1. Her Dad

    I’m glad you remembered something from your youth.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s