Friday, January 25, 2008

Saturday night syndrome

Before there was Saturday Night Fever, there was Saturday night syndrome. Eric Partridge's New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English (2005) gives four meanings, all originating in the United States:

1 tachycardiac fibrillation

2 prolonged local pressure on a limb with resulting prolonged ischemia (inadequate blood supply)

3 the stress and fear suffered by preachers who wait until Saturday night to write their Sunday sermon

4 the tendency of a restaurant kitchen to fail to live up to its highest potential on the busiest night of the week, Saturday night
A usage example from the painter Larry Rivers' autobiography describes no. 1 as the result of "all-night dancing, carousing, and strenuous sexual activity." I remember reading somewhere, years ago, that smoking is also a factor. No. 2 results from passing out with an arm or leg hanging over a chair or the edge of a bed. The OED defines no. 2 as Saturday night palsy and Saturday night paralysis (while making no mention of Saturday night syndrome).

I foresee no Saturday night syndromes in my Saturday night, which I will probably spend reading Madame Bovary while Elaine is at an orchestra rehearsal.

comments: 3

Sara said...

If you want to pass out with an arm or leg hanging over a chair or the edge of a bed, Madame Bovary is the way to go. Yuck!

Geo-B said...

Is there such a thing as Sunday night syndrome, in which a person succumbs to sitting immobile in a recliner while watching nine hours of televised football games?

Michael Leddy said...

I remember a horrific news story about someone who was chair-bound for so long that her skin began to meld with the chair's fabric. I think a television was involved.