Do you ever just have a slow day? Maybe you're tired from staying up too late with your friends. Or maybe you've been fighting a bad cold. Whatever the reason, there are some days that we just tend to move more slowly than others.
Of course, many people might feel fine physically, but they might be having a slow day mentally. Have you ever felt like your brain was tired? When we have a lot of things going on in our lives, it can sometimes be hard to keep track of it all. This can make our brains feel tired and a little slow.
When we're moving a little more slowly than usual — whether we're physically or mentally tired — we sometimes put off until tomorrow (or the next day…or the day after that) things that we should really be doing today. This is called procrastination.
If you're moving slowly at home or putting off a project at school, your parents or teachers may tell you to get the lead out. Have you ever heard or used that phrase before? When someone tells you to get the lead out, they're telling you to hurry up!
You may hear the phrase in different forms. For example, if you're blocking someone's way because you're walking too slowly, you may be told to get the lead out of your pants.
The origin of this phrase is not completely clear, but the meaning is. Some believe it's based upon simple common sense. Lead is a common metal that is known for being heavy. Someone thinks you're moving too slowly, as if you were weighted down with lead. They want you to hurry up, get going and move faster.
Others believe the phrase originated from the sport of horse racing. In horse racing, horses are sometimes loaded with lead weights to make sure that each horse carries an equal load. Since not all riders weigh the same amount, horses with lighter riders might have an advantage.
To prevent such an advantage, horses would be weighed with their riders before a race. Some horses would have lead weights added to their load to make up for carrying a lighter rider. Some riders would still attempt to gain an advantage, though.
In the home stretch of the race, some riders were known to dump their lead weights to reduce the load on their horse and hopefully increase its speed at the end of the race. When riders would “get the lead out," their horses would sometimes speed up in the crucial final seconds of a race. Today, lead weights are still used sometimes, but horses with their riders are weighed at the beginning and the end of the race to make sure no one has cheated.