Pick up a pair

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Pick up a pair

Post by Stevenloan » Sat Jan 04, 2020 2:56 pm

A: Biden said President Trump “just tossed a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox. And he owes the American people an explanation of the strategy and plan to keep safe our troops and embassy personel ....... . Iran will surely respond.”
B: Pick up a pair on your way home, Joe.

- Hi everyone! I understand the meaning of every word B says, but I guess B’s sentence has a figurative meaning here, is it correct? If yes, what does it mean in this case?

Your answers will be greatly appreciated.

StevenLoan
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Re: Pick up a pair

Post by Erik_Kowal » Sat Jan 04, 2020 3:26 pm

I think there are several allusions in play here.

The background to this exchange is presumably the assassination in a US drone strike of the Iranian general, Qasem Soleimani, plus part of his entourage, near Baghdad International Airport (Iraq) on 3 January 2020, and the criticism made of this strike by a former vice-president of the United States, Joe Biden. Biden is also a contender for the Democrat Party's nomination as its candidate in the next presidential election in November 2020.

I take "on your way home" to mean that speaker B believes Biden will not succeed in obtaining the Democrats' nomination as their presidential candidate against Donald Trump (and will have to go home to Pennsylvania), and/or that if he does become the Democrat candidate he will lose against Trump (and will also have to go home instead of moving into the White House).

"Pick up a pair" appears to be an allusion to the common exhortation to "grow a pair" (of testicles), where the testicles in question symbolically represent courage (whether moral or physical) or fortitude. The implication is that Biden currently lacks these qualities. The casualness with which he is being encouraged to do this (similar to swinging by a pizza parlour on one's way home) emphasizes the speaker's sarcastic intent.

NB — I have also encountered this exhortation being directed at females, who of course are biologically incapable of growing testicles.
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Re: Pick up a pair

Post by Stevenloan » Sun Jan 05, 2020 9:05 am

Erik : Thanks a lot for your very detailed answer. Enjoy your weekend.

StevenLoan
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Re: Pick up a pair

Post by Ken Greenwald » Sun Jan 05, 2020 5:42 pm

Erik,

I didn't get the meaning of the expression either. Thanks for that very good explanation.

Ken
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Re: Pick up a pair

Post by Phil White » Mon Jan 06, 2020 11:37 am

Yes, Erik is spot on. I have only ever heard the expression "grow a pair", which has exactly the meaning Erik describes. And yes, it it also used in reference to women (much like the phrase "man up").

The expression "grow a pair" is never used in a complete form ("grow a pair of balls"), and I do wonder whether it has only ever been used in this abbreviated, pithy form. Over to you, Ken!
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Signature: Phil White
Non sum felix lepus

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