Mud in Your Eye for Mid-November

Today is November 15, the feast of Saint Albert the Great (Albertus Magnus), who died in the year 1280.

The cocktail of the day is the Mud Pie: 1.5 oz rye or bourbon, .5 oz orange curacao, .5 tsp sugar, 2 dashed Peychaud’s bitters, on orange slice, cherry, lemon twist.

And when we raise a toast with that drink, it’s “Here’s mud in your eye.

You’ve heard that one, I’m sure. Where did it come from? If you guessed The Bible, you’re right.  Here’s the rest of the story, from John, Chapter 1.

“And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

“When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay,  And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.”

So, “Here’s mud in your eye” is a toast to your health – especially to your precious gift of eyesight. It’s also a wish for you to “see the light” in many other ways. A goodly benediction, indeed.

And what does this have to do with Albertus Magnus, honored as a doctor of the church and a brilliant natural scientist? Perhaps, though it’s all speculative, it has to do with his musings on the birds of the air. Albert wrote that the heron, whose Latin name is “ardea,” was probably named thusly because its excrement burns (“ardet”) whatever it touches.

The heron is said to defend itself from hawks by aiming its anus at it and shooting excrement. It may not mud in the hawk’s eye, but all that the projectile has to do is hit the hawk’s wings. The attacker’s feathers burn away, and the heron escapes.

The heron’s name is found in a royal decree of James VI of Scotland (1566-1625.) The Oxford English Dictionary suggests that the name is a shortening of “shiteheron.”

So there’s some more history I never knew. The heron was officially the world’s first “hot shit.”

Now you know the rest of the story.

One Response to “Mud in Your Eye for Mid-November”

  1. Patrick J. Daly Says:

    Paul Harvey might ask “Who was the second?”

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