For some time now, some of my on-line friends have advised me to provide a version of CassidySlangScam without the invective aimed at Cassidy and his supporters. In response to that advice, I am working on providing a glossary of the terms in Cassidy’s ludicrous book How The Irish Invented Slang with a short, simple and business-like explanation of why Cassidy’s version is wrong.
Daniel Cassidy, in his etymological hoax, How The Irish Invented Slang, claimed that in hobo slang, The Poultice Route was a term for the land of milk and honey or the southern route. This is a typical Cassidy distortion. In reality, a poultice was an hobo slang term for a dish of bread and gravy and the Poultice Route was any rail line going through Utah, where the inhabitants “are generally hospitable, and where bread and gravy is always to be had even though, on account of poverty, meat may be scarce.”
Cassidy’s claim is that the poultice of the Poultice Route is really from the Irish ball deas, which he says means “a nice place, a pretty spot, a southern place”. In reality, ball deas would simply mean a nice spot, which is vague. It is also completely unlike poultice in pronunciation. The explanation given above (and ignored completely by Cassidy) is far more convincing.