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Shaving Yak Hair

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Greg in San Antonio, Texas, who works in the tech industry, says he and his co-workers use the phrase shaving yak hair to describe a monotonous, tedious task. The phrase was inspired by a 1991 segment of The Ren and Stimpy Show, in which the title characters celebrate Yak Shaving Day, a bizarre holiday that involves hanging diapers, stuffing coleslaw into rubber boots, and of course, waiting for the shaven yak to float by. This is part of a complete episode.

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  • In the sublimely absurdist W.C. Fields short The Fatal Glass of Beer (1933), chockablock with everything from Yukon lore to prodigal-son/temperance morality plays by way of the Salvation Army, to blizzard-defying derring-do (“It ain’t a fit night out for man or beast” says the cabinbound patriarch Fields upon opening the door, times without number, as Nature replies each time with a fistful of flung snow in his face), Fields says, “I think I’ll go out and milk the elk.” I am no end abashed to have to correct my having mistaken “yak” for “elk.”

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