Beating around the Bush


Beating around the Bush

I grew up with the saying “don’t beat around the bush”. Context has everything to do with it.

If you are rounding up poultry or trying to drive out reptiles on a farm they sometimes hid under bushes, shrubs, behind firewood or wherever they feel it safe. One way to get them out is to circle around while beating the bush causing lots of noise. This frightens them and they run or slither away because they’re scared.

People often act the same way.

When frightened or scared the fight or flight response kicks in and people will either come out swinging, lashing out verbally or both before running wildly in any direction.  

Politicians know that divide and conquer while egging people on is an easy way to manipulate massive numbers of frightened people with fear of the unknown.

During close quarter, hand-to-hand combat a small force will often link arms or stand back-to-back over a superior force when they are outnumbered thus forming a human shield.

When preparing to deliver bad news or to avoid outright confrontation it is often acceptable to beat around the bush rather than coming right out and saying something unpleasant.

I’m reminded of this fictional story of a drill sergeant being told that Private Smith’s mother had just died. It was up to the drill sergeant to break the news to the recruit. So the drill sergeant goes outside where everyone is in formation and asks for a show of hands of how many have mothers back home? Almost all hands go up. The drill sergeant yells out “Not you Private Smith, but your hand down.”

Now that really didn’t happen but it was a sort of beating around the bush moment, wouldn’t you agree? – I am the Real Truckmaster!

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