Entry in progress—B.P.
Wikipedia: Kick the can
Kick the can (also known as Tip the can) is a children’s game related to tag, hide and seek, and capture the flag which can be played outdoors, with as many as three to a few dozen players. The game is one of skill, strategy, and stealth as well as fleetness.
One person or a team of people is designated as “it” and a can or similar object – paint can or metal pail or bucket – is placed in an open space: the middle of a backyard, a green, a cove or cul de sac, parking lot or street. The other players run off and hide while “it” covers his or her eyes and counts to a previously decided number. “It” then tries to find and tag each of the players. Any player who is tagged (caught and touched) is sent to the holding pen (jail) which is simply a designated area for all the captured players to congregate, generally in plain sight of the can. Any player who has not been caught can “kick the can”. If they can do this without being caught, then all of the captured players are set free. If “it” catches all of the players he or she wins that round and generally a new “it” is designated for the next round.
(Oxford English Dictionary)
kick-the-can (or -tin, etc.), a children’s game in which a tin can is kicked (fully described in I. & P. Opie Children’s Games (1969) 164-6).
1909 N. & Q. 5 June 445/2 Children’s games in Orkney… Kick the tinnie.
1959 I. & P. OPIE Lore & Lang. Schoolch. xviii. 377 Orthodox games like ‘Kick the Can’ and ‘Jacky Shine a Light’.
1959 B. SUTTON-SMITH Games N.Z. Children II. 58 More popular were those games in which the players helped one another to fight the He, and of these the most widespread was the game known as Kick the Tin.
(Oxford English Dictionary)
down the road: in the future. U.S. colloq.
1964 MRS. L. B. JOHNSON White House Diary 17 Nov. (1970) 204 It was a sad good-by for all of us. But one good thing, we know we’ll always be seeing each other down the road.
1974 G. F. NEWMAN Price 15 Thirty years down the road in a maximum security prison.
1979 Arizona Daily Star 22 July I. 1/4 My dream is that sometime down the road we’ll have students from all the nations of the world in this really non-political, non-sectarian framework.
1985 New Yorker 29 July 23/3 Mr. Murjani hopes to install a system resembling the electronic tellers used at banks… But this is a few years down the road.
Google News Archive
26 February 1985, Anchorage (AK) Daily News, “U.S. will delay anti-satellite missile test” by R. Gregory Nokes (The Associated Press), pg. A4, col. 4:
Whether or not the reason for the delay is exclusively for technical reasons, this official said the delay “kicks the can down the road” in terms of making it a less pressing problem with the Soviets.
Google News Archive
17 January 1988, Spartanburg (SC) Herald-Journal, “On Language” by William Safire, pg. A13, col. 2:
Describing a modest advance in negotiations toward a strategic arms treaty, the negotiator Max Kampelman said, “We kicked the can down the road.” What a superb use of metaphor. Who has not, as a kid, played kick-the-can, or in less organized fashion kicked a can or other nonbiodegradable container ahead?
As long as we have negotiators creatively kicking the can, this department will do the same to errant senators and generals.
6 February 1986, Frederick (MD) News-Post, “Shultz talks tough on Star Wars, speaks of ‘measured progress,’” pg. A4, col. 5:
Mr. Rowny urged pushing the Soviets now—before the summit—for explicit recognition that Star Wars will go ahead. He said Messrs. Reagan and Gorbachev had “kicked the can” down the road at their summit meeting here last December by deferring a decision.
New York (NY) Times
By William Safire
Published: June 15, 2003
KICK THE CAN
A reporter asked Secretary of State Colin Powell, returning from a trip to the Middle East, about the ‘’road map’’ agreement: ‘’Isn’t it just kicking the can farther down the road, putting off the most difficult issues, particularly settlements?’’
‘’At least we have a can in the road,’’ replied Powell, reared in the South Bronx and familiar with the children’s game. ‘’The can is in the road now, and we will start moving it down the road, perhaps with little kicks as opposed to a 54-yarder.’’
The metaphor is in play more than the game. In his final months in office, President Clinton said he wanted to resolve Middle East problems sooner rather than later, but for ‘’some foreign policy problems, the answer is to kick the can down the road and wait for them to get better and hope time takes care of them.’’
Jim Lehrer put the title of his 1988 novel in the opening sentence: ‘’I was too old to play kick the can anymore.’’
Diplomats do not use ring-a-levio, hopscotch, ring around the rosie, prisoner’s base, Jackie shine a light or stoopball to describe global strategies. It’s always kick the can, it always means ‘’postpone action’’ and it calls for etymological examination.
Called tin can Tommy or kick the tinnie in Britain, the American version can be played by kicking a tin can down the street (or road, in rural areas), challenging the can-guarder to chase the can and bring it back to base while everyone hides. The can-guarder (a kid named ‘’It’’ ) then has to find a player in hiding without anyone else’s kicking the can. The Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE) tells us that this version of hide-and-seek also goes by the names kick the wicket and lurky nurky.
Not the game you remember? Another version, for urban rowdies, is setting a can on a sewer cover and seeing who can kick it so hard and so far that it breaks a window and everybody scatters before the cops get there.
If you have no playmates, and nobody loves you, there’s the solitaire version: just walkin’ along, kickin’ the can ahead, watchin’ it roll, kickin’ it again, until you get to your destination or just get bored, at which point you let the next guy who comes along kick it farther down the road. This is the diplomatic meaning of the extended metaphor, and if you can kick it 54 yards from a standing start, you’re a better man than I am, Colin Powell.
Face the Nation - CBS News
WASHINGTON, April 13, 2008
“Kicking The Can Down The Road” On Iraq
Bush’s Iraq Policy, Including Delaying Troop Withdrawals, Is Making U.S. Less Safe, Says Pelosi
By David S Morgan
(CBS) President Bush has been delaying action to reduce the United States’ presence in Iraq despite his assurances that the surge would presage a withdrawal of U.S. troops, said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“The president has been kicking the can down the road for the last couple of years, saying we’ll have a surge and if it works then we can bring our troops home,” Rep. Pelosi, D-Calif., told Face The Nation host Bob Schieffer. “And now there’s a pause in withdrawal, and redeployment out, but we haven’t really had any major redeployment out.
The Christian Science Monitor
Obama speech: kicking the can down the road in Afghanistan
But at least by establishing a withdrawal date in Afghanistan, Obama put Kabul on notice to start solving its own problems.
By Graham E. Fuller / December 2, 2009
Oregon tax reform: ‘Kicking the can’ no longer cuts it
By Guest Columnist
January 01, 2010, 3:00PM
Portland businessman Greg Goodman was absolutely right when he wrote (Letters, Dec. 29) that Oregon’s tax structure is like a leaky pool and that the measures that have been offered to the public do no more than “kick the can” down the road without dealing with the real problem.
Kicking The Can Down The Road
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 04/28/2010 16:47 -0500
France is not short of unaccounted for social entitlement programs, and Germany can’t seriously bail out everybody. It might be worth starting to look at the debt/GDP ratio for the entire eurozone if we go that route as it will dictate, if this plan works, when nervousness will return down the road (where the can was kicked after so much drama).
The Arizona Republic
Europe kicks the can down the road
by Doug MacEachern
May. 11, 2010 12:00 AM
Europe has concluded that Greece, Italy, Spain and more are too big to fail. The union has put together a $1 trillion rescue package for its currency, the euro. That may alleviate the debt crisis now, but it also removes the pressure on the Greek government to institute tough reforms, thus raising the prospect of a worse meltdown down the road
New York City • Government/Law/Military/Religion /Health • (1) Comments • Monday, May 31, 2010 • Permalink