That abbreviation comes from the Robert Heinlein book "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress".
It stands for:
ThereSuch a saying may seem self-evident, but unnecessary for the young people reading this. I must explain - back in the day (as they say in the South), there were bars that advertised a FREE LUNCH. When the working man stepped into the establishment, he would behold an array of cold cuts and such laid out on a table. Naturally, he'd order a beer, and set to eatin'.
Well, it did seem like a good deal to the workers - free food, and for just the cost of one beer.
What happened was predictable:
- Seldom did a man buy just one drink. He was with his friends, and one man would order a round, then someone else, and then, it was his turn to buy for the group.
- Even the frugal have a conscience - either they would order another drink for themselves, or do that and add one for the barmaid.
- The cheapest drink was nearly undrinkable. To get a taste that made eating palatable, the patron would end up ordering a more expensive brew - which, by coincidence, would about equal the cost of the meal.
- The meal itself wasn't all that expensive to lay out - mostly inexpensive stuff, cold cuts, condiments, bread, and such. However, even that cheap meal lay an expensive obligation on the partaker to drink enough to balance it out.
- No money? No problem. Many bars extended credit to the working man; payday just got a lot more expensive, as when they came in with the cash to pay the bill, they would be cajoled into "just one drink", and...
Peeps, whenever someone says that they are going to do something FOR me, I mentally switch that phrase to "do something TO me". Cynical? Yes, but sad experience has proved me right.
Think I'm overly paranoid? Ask yourself, when you got that last bit of "FREE" money (the $600 check from the government that was to stimulate the economy), did you:
- Spend it, or
- Save it
Ouch! Feel your butt getting bit?