Have you ever heard the expression, “Not to toot my own horn…”? For whatever reason the other night I was thinking about this and how much it doesn’t really seem to make sense. How did this start? Whose horn? Why are they tooting? Why is this positive?
Why is the horn used to draw reference to oneself for a good deed or job well done? What makes it more annoying is if the person is a trumpet player because they can toot their own horn twice. This brings no satisfaction for the person whose ears were just singed with the sounds of a humble brag. If the person was not a member of the brass section then there would be some relief they couldn’t complete the often used expression. The brass instrument sections almost always get too much satisfaction because they can make this true even if there isn’t anything worth telling everyone about.
So I did a little digging. Where did this start? According to the US Herald this is how it all began:
United States about 1776 (a “declaration of self-independence”?) in the “Warren-Adams Letters” as “I think modesty is highly overrated as a virtue — my motto is ‘Toot your own horn lest the same never
The truth is, if you have to toot your horn, chances are you can’t even play a reveille. You’re drawing attention to yourself to make it look like you’re doing something. Instead of tooting that you’re awesome, just be awesome instead. Save your breath and your toots. Get to doing and stop tooting.
If you’re going to toot, aim it in the other direction. Nobody likes a braggart.
When someone has tooted their horn around you, what happened?