I got this email today and am wondering if it is true. Before everyone with a computer receives this, and I start hearing people in taverns repeating it, what's it worth?
"In the 16th and 17th centuries, everything had to be transported by ship, and it was also before commercial fertilizer's invention, so large shipments of manure were common. It was shipped dry because it weighed a lot less than when wet, but once sea water hit it, it not only became heavier but the process of fermentation began again, of which a by-product is methane gas�. Methane began to build up below decks, and the first time someone came below at night with a lantern, BOOOOOM!� After that the bundles of manure were always stamped with the term "Ship High In Transit," which meant for sailors to stow it high enough off the lower decks so any water that came into the hold wouldn't touch the volatile cargo. Thus evolved the term S.H.I.T., which has come down to us through the centuries and is in use to this very day. You probably did not know the true history of this word."
-- OB Dan
So now you definitely do not know the true history of this word. Ah, email. What a boon to the world of wisdom. This story's been around for about a decade, so maybe it's already made the rounds of taverns. For a change, I'm not even going to bother saying that of course the story's bunk, that shit's been its own proud self-- and Old English word-- for many hundreds of years. I won't even bore you with that. Instead I'll ask a more basic question. Think back to the 1600s. What was one thing that everybody had plenty of? What filled streets, barns, fields, ditches, rivers, all over pre-industrial Europe? Animal crap. Cow doo. Horse pucks. Goat pies. Excrement as far as the nose can smell. Why, why, why would anybody in England load up a boat with sheep shit and try to sell it in France? Huh? What would France want with it? They had plenty of their own, thank you. For more than one reason, the story is C.R.A.P.