"...Then Presto, you do a skull..."

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Coyoacan

Senior Member
México - Castellano
Dear amigos,

The meaning of the title sentence completely scapes me. I have wrung my head up and wrapped my mind around the subject as best I could, and yet I still can't figure it out. One of my attempts was: "suddenly, you're dead and you find yourself being called to your final destination.." but that just doesn't make any sense in light of the love in the song.

My best shot was "then you smart up and find yourself trembling with emotion" akin to the next line which says 'she lets a sigh scape and you feel weak at the knees' but still, it just felt like I as pushing it too hard...

Context: "Life is dull, it's nothing but one big lull, then presto, you do a skull, and find that you're reeling, she sighs and you're feeling like a toy on a string; and your heart goes ring-a-ding ding, ring-a-ding ding, ring-a-ding ding!" [lyrics]

Background: The OBVIOUSLY Frank Sinatra made-famous song that Mr. John Pizzarelli has brought back this year in his album "Dr. Mr. Sinatra". It's a compilation of love songs. Need more context and background??

I guess it's clear what I'm looking for is an interpretation/explanation of the text. Have looked it up in my American Slang dict. by Robert Chapman Ph. D. [Harper Collins] already, where I usually find all my AE slang/idioms questions answered, but this time it failed me.

Anything, anyone?? MUCH thanks in advance for your expert comments on the matter! :D

Regards,
-Coyo
 
  • cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    This is not a slang phrase. It is a one-time use by a song writer. Your guess is as good as anyone's. It may mean to
    have a sudden realization, or to fall and knock your head--figuratively speaking.
     

    mgarizona

    Senior Member
    US - American English
    Exactly. It's what the OED would call 'nonce-usage.'

    In the lyric it definitely seems to relate to a "sudden realization," here, that of the intoxicating quality of what had previously seemed merely a "funny face."
     

    Coyoacan

    Senior Member
    México - Castellano
    Dear Cuchu and mgarizona: Gracias! :) I learned two new things! 1. Didn't know what a nonce-usage word was, and 2. Coupled with Cuchu's comment I now know the interpretation/meaning that possibly best applies here is "sudden realization". Thanks a bunch for your collaboration.

    Coyo
     

    herc_takes_five

    New Member
    eng-leesh
    i believe it's vaudeville slang: to do a doubletake, for example, while mugging for the audience. it may have its origin in landing on one's head during a staged pratfall. i also heard it meant taking a drink, probably from one of those tiki bar drinks served in skull-shaped mugs popular in the 50's and early 60's.
     

    benindavis

    New Member
    American English
    its not 'skull' its scull..its an old term for a drink..or.. a shot of booze.. to do a scull. look it up! google is great!!
     

    mgarizona

    Senior Member
    US - American English
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