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Banging Someone Out on Their Last Day of of Work

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Our conversation about bang out sick and bang in sick, both meaning to “call one’s employer to say they’re not coming in to work,” prompted a response from historian Judith Flanders, who notes that in the UK, there’s a tradition of banging out retiring journalists on their last day of work. As the newly retired take their last walk through the building, workers in all departments repeatedly strike hard objects against machinery or furniture in a cacophonous send-off. The tradition apparently started in the press rooms where newspapers were printed. As noted in A Dictionary of English Folklore (Bookshop|Amazon), historically this tradition might involve dousing the departing worker with printer’s ink or other sticky substance, and even pouring flour or feathers over them and even tying them up in a public place. This is part of a complete episode.

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