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  #1  
Old 06-14-2007, 01:03 AM
RedRosesForMe RedRosesForMe is offline
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What does coming up threes mean?

I tried Google, I tried Urban Dictionary, I even tried a plain old dictionary-

but I still can't figure out what coming up threes means.
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  #2  
Old 06-14-2007, 01:17 AM
WoodenTaco WoodenTaco is offline
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What's the context? With only 19 google results, its clearly not a very common idiom.
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  #3  
Old 06-14-2007, 01:44 AM
RedRosesForMe RedRosesForMe is offline
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Song lyrics (probably most of your google results):

Bury me at sea where no murdered ghost can haunt me
If I rock upon the waves no corpse will lie upon me
Coming up threes, boys
Coming up threes, boys
Let me go down in the mud where the rivers all run dry
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  #4  
Old 06-14-2007, 02:10 AM
Cunctator Cunctator is offline
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In the context of those lyrics - perhaps something to do with the old belief that a drowning man comes to the surface three times?
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  #5  
Old 06-14-2007, 02:18 AM
RedRosesForMe RedRosesForMe is offline
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Hmmm... I know Cecil did a column on this supposed "phenomenon" but I'd never actually heard of it before, nor heard the phrase coming up threes...
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  #6  
Old 06-14-2007, 02:29 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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In the context of the lyrics, I agree, it seems to be referring to the idiom that a man drowning will go down for the third time and stay down.
Elsewhere, 'coming up in threes' usually refers to the idea that significant (usually unfortunate) events often seem to happen in clusters of three - celebrity deaths, natural disasters, crashes, etc. Usually this is just referred to as 'happening in threes'.

I think the lyric is probably purposely using something that sounds like one idiom, but meaning another (or a little of both). Quite clever actually.
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  #7  
Old 06-14-2007, 02:48 AM
si_blakely si_blakely is offline
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The Irish accent has fooled the lyrics writers

it isn't "threes", it is "trees"

so "coming up trees" is just an irish way of saying "pushing up daisies" - i.e. dead



Si
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  #8  
Old 06-14-2007, 03:49 AM
RedRosesForMe RedRosesForMe is offline
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Bu.. but.. but I heard Joe Strummer say it, and he definitely said threes.

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  #9  
Old 06-14-2007, 08:19 AM
Fear Itself Fear Itself is offline
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There was a belief prevalent in the 19th century, popularized by authors such as Poe and Verne, that a drowned body will float again after three days.
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  #10  
Old 06-14-2007, 03:34 PM
RedRosesForMe RedRosesForMe is offline
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OK, reading through the google results that don't deal with the particular song, one definitely uses coming up threes in the sense of drowning.

But another uses it differently, actually seems a bit like 'coming up roses': "Besides the rain delay, everything was coming up threes last night."

What?
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  #11  
Old 06-14-2007, 03:45 PM
Gary T Gary T is online now
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I don't see much sense in the drowning aspect. If you drown, you're already essentially buried at sea. Furthermore, the lyrics as a whole (one line is "If Im buried neath the sod") refer to death, burial, and after-death, but don't suggest any cause of said death, and certainly don't support the notion that it was specifically by drowning.
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  #12  
Old 06-14-2007, 04:25 PM
Belrix Belrix is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedRosesForMe
OK, reading through the google results that don't deal with the particular song, one definitely uses coming up threes in the sense of drowning.

But another uses it differently, actually seems a bit like 'coming up roses': "Besides the rain delay, everything was coming up threes last night."

What?
It's part of a larger article where the number three was apparently a frequent occurrance in this guy's awareness.

It's preceeded by a mention of a three hour rain delay, then:

"Besides the three hour rain delay, everything was coming up threes last night"
"Only three of us stayed until the game ended"
"Dave S., let out three antibiotic-powered farts that almost killed us..."
"And I got home exactly at 3 a.m."
"Does anyone think they'll actually get all three Subway Series games in this weekend?"

...and it continues...
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  #13  
Old 06-14-2007, 04:38 PM
RedRosesForMe RedRosesForMe is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Belrix
It's part of a larger article where the number three was apparently a frequent occurrance in this guy's awareness.

It's preceeded by a mention of a three hour rain delay, then:

"Besides the three hour rain delay, everything was coming up threes last night"
"Only three of us stayed until the game ended"
"Dave S., let out three antibiotic-powered farts that almost killed us..."
"And I got home exactly at 3 a.m."
"Does anyone think they'll actually get all three Subway Series games in this weekend?"

...and it continues...
Oh, see, I couldn't get that to open, so all I had was the little snippet in the google results.
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  #14  
Old 06-14-2007, 04:47 PM
RedRosesForMe RedRosesForMe is offline
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Oh, and as for the interpretation of the song's meaning as a whole-

He says "If I'm buried 'neath the sod but the angels won't receive me" then later says the "Bury me at sea" part. So, it sorta sounds like fear of being rejected by the hallowed ground ("If I should fall from grace with God") and choosing burial at sea instead.

But yeah, he's already dead at this point ("where no doctor can relieve me").

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  #15  
Old 06-15-2007, 07:10 AM
RedRosesForMe RedRosesForMe is offline
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Anyone? Anyone even heard the expression before?

Bueller?
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  #16  
Old 06-15-2007, 10:13 AM
jali jali is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedRosesForMe
Anyone? Anyone even heard the expression before?

Bueller?
I remember older cartoons (from the 50's or 60's) that when showing a person drowning always showed the victim doing a count - One (showing one finger), two and three. I've had the impression since then that 3 times underwater is required to drown. I've never heard the actual expression, but I think that may have been the belief at one time.
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  #17  
Old 06-15-2007, 12:14 PM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
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I always wondered about Red's moniker. Now I know for sure. A curse upon you, Oliver Cromwell.
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  #18  
Old 11-21-2011, 04:12 AM
Kedrith Kedrith is offline
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what I think it refers too

I think the "comes up threes" lines refers to the superstition that good and bad luck are believed to come in threes. Just my two cents worth it could be the drowning superstition or perhaps the luck and bad luck in threes is linked to going down for the third time.
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  #19  
Old 11-21-2011, 04:23 AM
naita naita is online now
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Well zombies certainly come in threes.
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  #20  
Old 11-21-2011, 10:14 AM
ZipperJJ ZipperJJ is online now
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I realize this is a zombie but...

Seems to me that this would be related to a dice game. I looked at the Wikipedia article for craps and three didn't seem that spectacular of a roll. But then I remembered the phrase "sixes and sevens" and looked up the Wikipedia article on that and it led me to the article on the dice game called hazard in which if you throw a three you lose.

So, in hazard, if it looks like it's coming up threes, it looks like you're going to lose.
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  #21  
Old 11-21-2011, 10:38 AM
Lukeinva Lukeinva is offline
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Nothing to offer on the threes but for those who don't know... the song is If I should Fall From Grace of God by the Pogues, sung by Shane McGowan (sans dental work).
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  #22  
Old 11-21-2011, 10:41 AM
IvoryTowerDenizen IvoryTowerDenizen is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedRosesForMe View Post
Bu.. but.. but I heard Joe Strummer say it, and he definitely said threes.

Is it related to the idiom "go down for the third time"?
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  #23  
Old 08-23-2012, 01:37 AM
monster_sausage monster_sausage is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by si_blakely View Post
The Irish accent has fooled the lyrics writers

it isn't "threes", it is "trees"

so "coming up trees" is just an irish way of saying "pushing up daisies" - i.e. dead



Si

The lyrics' writer (and singer) IS Irish, so he probably wasn't fooled by his own accent.

Additionally, the Irish accent makes the "th" sound a "t" or "d" sound--not the other way around. I.e., "threes" becomes "trees" with an Irish accent, but "trees" never becomes "threes".
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  #24  
Old 08-23-2012, 03:39 AM
si_blakely si_blakely is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monster_sausage View Post
The lyrics' writer (and singer) IS Irish, so he probably wasn't fooled by his own accent.

Additionally, the Irish accent makes the "th" sound a "t" or "d" sound--not the other way around. I.e., "threes" becomes "trees" with an Irish accent, but "trees" never becomes "threes".
I'm hoping that this thread has come up for the third and last time. But I guess zombies don't drown, do they

monster_sausage, this is your first post. What you have done is found a very old post (started in 2007, revived in 2011, and now again in 2012. This is called a zombie (there will be zombie jokes), and some of the participants are quite possibly no longer present on the boards. In general, it is worth checking the date of the post you are responding to, and starting your own thread on the topic in question if it is fairly old.

As for my comment - many lyric sites on the internet are public contributions, and do not always reflect what the songwriter/singer may have written/recorded (I have seen some pretty serious howlers when finding songs for my own playlist). And the thick brogue and toothless enunciation of Shane McGowan is particularly difficult for those not familiar with Irish speakers. Finally, the similarity of the irish pronunciation of tree and three are well attested in humour - which I indicated by my use of the
[FOGHORN LEGHORN]That's a joke, I say, that's a joke, son[/FOGHORN LEGHORN]

Welcome to the dope, we do hope you'll enjoy your stay, but spend a bit of time lurking until you get a better feel of how we work, and your interactions will be much more enjoyable and productive.

Si
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  #25  
Old 08-23-2012, 07:20 PM
monster_sausage monster_sausage is offline
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[QUOTE=si_blakely;15414213]I'm hoping that this thread has come up for the third and last time. But I guess zombies don't drown, do they

monster_sausage, this is your first post. What you have done is found a very old post (started in 2007, revived in 2011, and now again in 2012. This is called a zombie (there will be zombie jokes), and some of the participants are quite possibly no longer present on the boards. In general, it is worth checking the date of the post you are responding to, and starting your own thread on the topic in question if it is fairly old.

As for my comment - many lyric sites on the internet are public contributions, and do not always reflect what the songwriter/singer may have written/recorded (I have seen some pretty serious howlers when finding songs for my own playlist). And the thick brogue and toothless enunciation of Shane McGowan is particularly difficult for those not familiar with Irish speakers. Finally, the similarity of the irish pronunciation of tree and three are well attested in humour - which I indicated by my use of the
[FOGHORN LEGHORN]That's a joke, I say, that's a joke, son[/FOGHORN LEGHORN]

Welcome to the dope, we do hope you'll enjoy your stay, but spend a bit of time lurking until you get a better feel of how we work, and your interactions will be much more enjoyable and productive.


Your condescension is endearing. Great way to make sure I "spend a bit of time lurking". What is this, 1996? Because I haven't used this username on straightdope before, I have no idea how a message board works? Seems more like a way to indirectly detract from the actual content of my post.

Being Irish, I'm familiar with pronunciation quirks that are "well attested in humor." But sticking with my original assertion, those jokes are all based on "threes" being substituted with "trees," and never vice-versa.
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