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Tahj Gomes notes that he phrase "Going back" means betrayal.
Thus the glass celebrates word play - the fat man has physically "gone back"
on his friend (presumably as a result of too much to drink) and in so doing
has betrayed him by sending him flying into the dirt. (I has always
thought that the thin man has a fish flying from his hand it may just be a
Gary responds: ...as for the
drunk large man falling on a smaller man, that one is harder to crack. The
word "on" in older English and American regional speech can mean "for". The
expression "waiting on a friend" is still heard in the South, for example, and
in England to this day - think of the Rolling Stones' song from the 1970's,
"Waiting On A Friend". So, the legend may mean, the stout man is going back to
help or save his friend, maybe to retrieve him from the bar they both were
drinking in. I agree with you that the thin man seems to be holding a fish.
That could be a visual metaphor for being "under the water" - being drunk.
Maybe the two were supping beside a lake and the thin man fell in. But in
trying to save the thin man, from drowning or drinking any more in a bar, the
fat man makes the situation worse by smothering him. Therefore there may be a
play on words here, and your other reader who suggested the idea of betrayal
may be right too: there is in other words an attempt at rescue but it fails
and possibly achieves the oppsoite result - proof of the folly of
over-drinking. It is hard to know for sure, of course. I find that meaning,
both verbal and pictorial, changes more than we realise over a period of 100
years or so. |
Nic comments: The "going back on a friend" slogan seems to me to be suggesting the liquid contents are about to be tossed back on the pocketbook of said friend, like two buddies buying each other rounds. The image is a comical illustration of a more literal interpretation.
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