Historically Speaking

Making sense of it all!

Pulls My Trigger

Posted by Elyse Bruce on July 29, 2013

Phil Williams of NewsTalk 98.7 FM out of Knoxville made the comment that a certain news story pulled his trigger. The manner in which the comment was used indicated that he felt strongly on the subject. But what did he mean by that?

If someone says that someone or something pulls their trigger, what they mean is that they feel very strongly about that person or the topic being discussed. It’s an intense reaction where the person whose trigger is pulled takes a stand, and that’s all there is to it! Whether it’s positive or negative is entirely dependent upon the specific situation.

Atlanta, Georgia singer-songwriter, Jeff Silver and Josh Osborne wrote a song about a woman that’s nothing but trouble but she somehow knows how to get men all worked up over her feminine wiles. It appeared on his 2008 release for Silvercraft Records entitled “Looking Forward Looking Back.” The song’s title is, of course, “Pulls My Trigger” and the last line in the chorus is:

That girl pulls my trigger every time.

When author/blogger Crystal Green aka Christine Cody aka Chris Marie Green reviewed the Superman movie she blogged about in her June 28, 2005 spoiler-filled blog entry “Superman Returns To Men” she wrote in part:

Girls and boys, he totally pulls my trigger. If you’re prone to heroics, you’ll know exactly what I mean. My gosh, you’ve never seen Superman done like this before. The guy can fly all right, but this time out, instead of being all, “La la la” as he meanders through the skies, he’s a rocket.

Two years before that, Laura Nation published an article entitled, “How Not To Treat Customers” that appeared in the Cleburne News edition of November 20, 2003. While she acknowledged that dealing with the public could sometimes be rough, she also maintained that if you have a job, you need to do that job to the best of your abilities.

Well, that always pulls my trigger. I try never to tell anyone what they’ll have to do. They don’t have to do anything.

And back on November 13, 1999 there was a 2-page testimony about the annual pig roast held at Mom’s Biker Bar in Longview, Texas that a group of friends from Louisiana attended. They were all (according to the author, John L. Doughty, Jr) the author’s “beer-drinkin’ and pool-shootin’ buddies and the leading citizens of Tullos.” The website retelling of the event took up 2 pages, complete with photographs to accompany the storytelling. And at one point, the author wrote:

I suppose by now some of y’all have figured out that little miss Wild Thang pulls my trigger. Here she is again in a sneaky shot I took with a telephoto lens. Around midnight that night and at least 6 long necks later when she was even less inhibited than her normal uninhibited self and so was I, she posed for a very good shot. Alas, alas, alas, the batteries were dead in my camera. There ain’t no justice.

Now then, John L. Doughty, Jr.is out of Louisiana, the Cleburne News is out of Alabama, Jeff Silver lives in Georgia, and Phil Williams is from Tennessee. So is it possible that this expression is a southern saying?

Possibly, however the expression showed up in a blog article written by blogger Jami Dwyer of Portland, Oregon and published to her Appreciator blog site on May 31, 2008. The entry was entitled, “Why No Sasquatch Next Year” where she wrote about her experience at the Sasquatch Music Festival that weekend. Her insight into the event expressed the good and not-so-good aspects of the festival, and included this tidbit:

I waved my bracelet at ID Dude #1, he spied my myriad gray hairs, and waved me through. But as I tried to move forward, ID Dude #2 said, in full authoritarian mode, “Your ID! Where’s your ID!”

Now, nothing pulls my trigger faster than a mean person.

“This is ridiculous!” I said. “I’ve been checked!” I said, waving my wristband. “YOU checked me!”

And in the Washington Post on November 16, 2006 in article written by Ugochi Onyeukwu, student journalist for the Cardozo Owl newspaper of Cardozo Senior High School in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of northwest Washington, D.C. The school has had some famous alumni over the years including, but not limited to, J. Edgar Hoover and John S. McCain, Jr. The article took on the issue or violence and the gun pledge. The piece was aptly entitled:

Why The Gun Pledge Pulls My Trigger

This indicates that either this is an expression that’s known and understood across the U.S. or it’s a southern expression that has migrated north and west (since it’s more prevalent in the south than in the north). But all that said and done, Idiomation was unable to trace it back to anything published prior to 1999.

That it was used with such ease and with the expectation of being understood underscores the fact that there is a history to this idiom; it just hasn’t been uncovered yet. That being said, Idiomation welcomes any leads on this idiom so its roots can finally be uncovered and shared with readers and visitors of this blog site.

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