Back on the Bandwagon

I’d like to propose a change of meaning for the expression “back on the bandwagon.”

As it stands, if you’re on the bandwagon, you’re alcohol-free. If you’re off the bandwagon, you’re drinking to your heart’s desire.

But this doesn’t make sense to me. Imagine a bandwagon rolling through town. The band is on the wagon. The bandwagon is the place to be! You get on the wagon–that’s where the party is. That’s where you get a little tipsy.

Eventually, with that big ole’ wagon bouncing down the street, you’re bound to fall off the wagon. When you fall off, you’re alcohol free, because you left all the kegs and body shots back on the wagon. Once you fall off, you join the hordes of bystanders wishing they too could be on the wagon with the people having fun.

Plus, why else would you get on the wagon in the first place if you’re not intending to party? Wouldn’t you just leave the wagon alone? Who gets on a wagon anyway?

I don’t know who I have to talk with to get this changed around, but I’ll find out. You watch me. I’ll do it.

12 thoughts on “Back on the Bandwagon”

  1. I agree with you almost completely. To me, it makes much more sense to be on the wagon and drinking. Think of Mardi Gras. Everyone wants to be on the floats, which are essentially wagons.

    My one point of contention is that it’s clear you’ve never been an alcoholic, because there is no “band” in the alcoholic’s wagon…it’s just on the wagon or off the wagon. (Although I’d imagine a band would make it a more enticing place to be…unless it left less room for alcohol.) Sports teams have bandwagons; alcoholics just have wagons. Maybe it has something to do with noise and hangovers?

    • Yes, exactly–great point about the Mardi Gras floats.

      You make an equally good point about alcoholism. I guess once you stop taking your health and the health of those around you into consideration, the band leaves and you’re left with an empty wagon. That’s not as fun.

  2. It’s the Red Dot episode. The one where Elaine gets George a job at her office and he has sex with the cleaning lady. LOL.

    Elaine is dating a recovering alcoholic and George and Jerry disagree about whether he is on or off the wagon 🙂

    • Good memory! I do remember that–it’s a great episode. I’m sure their discussion of it was funnier than mine, but I tried my best 🙂

    • A Tale of Two Wagons

      I think we’re involved in mixed metaphors here.

      Getting on the bandwagon has to do with following the crowd – doing what everyone else is doing – with no special reference to alcoholism.

      Being on or off “the wagon” refers to a different kind of wagon – a water wagon, used in earlier days to wet down dusty roads.

      If a majority of people were abstaining from alcohol, it could be said that they were getting on a bandwagon AND a water wagon. Can one be on two wagons at the same time?

      Conversely, if a majority were becoming intemperate, they could be said to be simultaneously getting on the bandwagon AND falling off the wagon.

      Yours in jest

      • I think one could be on two wagons at the same time. One would just have to be flexible.

        Thanks for the comment–very enlightening!


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