Over the last few weeks I had noticed that the expression “double down” has been popping up quite a bit with the politicians, and it was starting to get on my nerves. Romney must have pushed me over the edge during that first debate, hence the note on an index card I found the next morning that said “double down on yogurt.” It had to have been Romney, because if Obama had said it, I would have thought it was the best thing since sliced bread.
I am at a loss to explain the yogurt part, but clearly I had decided it was time to get to the bottom of this emerging cliche when I scribbled on that index card.
The first few times I heard “double down” I naturally assumed it referred to some kind of play—baseball, football or basketball. It had the same manly tang as the term “full court press,” and it just reeked of power and determination.
If I had been Romney’s debate coach I would have given him the same advise: Pepper your speech with sports jargon to pander to the Dorito/Pepsi/ESPN set who see the future of our country in terms of The Game.
When you align your values to the noble pursuit of victory in sport, you can’t go wrong. Sport embodies all the values we Amuricans hold dear such as strength, determination, grit and perseverance.
For example, when we speak of “leveling the playing field,” we imply democratization, and evoke a place where anyone who really wants to can achieve anything.
When we tell someone to “step up to the plate,” the poor slob is first crushed and then motivated to do just that. He can’t help but picture the team rooting for him, and so he takes that first tentative step toward redemption and then another and another, amid the cheers.
In my imagination, “double down” was derived from football. After all, we have the first and second down. And that’s about all I know about football.
I dawdled before launching my investigation of “double down” because I assumed it would lead me into a thicket of boring rules about one of the Big Three sports, none of which I understand or care about. I’m not being hyperbolic when I say that once I stepped up to the plate and doubled down on my research I was ecstatic with the results of my query. Behold what Google served up!
1. Double Down Saloon–Home of the fabled Ass Juice, birthplace of the bacon martini
“Vivid chaotic psychedelic murals covering every inch of walls and ceiling provide the backdrop, while disturbing videos come at you from all directions. Videos so insane they once made Timothy Leary blue (shortly before he actually turned blue).
Ok, so we have ass juice, bacon martinis and LSD. Dude, I think I just od’d, but no worries, I’m among friends because the Double Down Saloon is by its own reckoning “… indeed a clubhouse for the lunatic fringe.” If Romney wins the election, then indeed, the Oval Office will become just that.
2. The epic KFC Double Down is finally available, starting Monday, April 12.
This may not be sporty, but it sure is Amurican. According to the KFC website, “The new KFC Double Down sandwich is real! This one-of-a-kind sandwich features two thick and juicy boneless white meat chicken filets (Original Recipe®), two pieces of bacon, two melted slices of Monterey Jack and pepper jack cheese and Colonel’s Sauce. This product is so meaty, there’s no room for a bun!”
If I was Big Bird, I’d stay the hell out of Alabama and Rhode Island—the two states where KFC is reportedly piloting it’s fabled Double Down Sandwich. As for the economy and the military, I don’t think they have anything to worry about. It’s not like Romney can make the army dangerously cheesy or kill the economy with too much bacon. But, women be wise:—the product is so meaty, there’s no room for a bun. As for me, I’m keeping my legs crossed and a death grip on the soap.
3. Double down, (third person singular simple present)
- (idiomatic, gambling) To double one’s wager. [quotations ▼]
- (idiomatic, by extension) To double or significantly increase a risk, investment, or other commitment. [quotations ▼]
Acid, lunatics, bacon and disturbing videos are nothing compared to the idea of President Romney significantly increasing our risks in the economic realm, or in foreign policy. Let’s just roll the dice and go for a Royal Flush on Iran, shall we? Uh oh! I just rolled snake eyes on the economy! Sorry! Next time I’ll double down on that and hope that Lady Luck is with me!
I am so glad I decided to get to the bottom of this tiresome cliche. If I hadn’t, I would have dismissed it as meaningless rhetoric.