How does this story link to today's usage pertaining to a belligerent attitude? "The first such record by an English author doesn't seem to be until the 1930s in fact, in Somerset Maugham's Gentleman in the Parlour:
Yep, here we are. "Everyone seemed in a conspiracy to slight or injure him." This is how we use this phrase today. Evidently, there was a time when men actually placed chips of wood ON their shoulders and dared someone to knock them off. Thus instigating a fight. Oh, wouldn't it be wonderful if we could see the chips carried on shoulders today. It's tough enough to see the chip when we meet the individual carrying the chip face to face. Sometimes you can see the look in their eye when a specific subject comes into conversation. We all know to leave politics and religion alone in pleasant conversation. Right? But, there are MANY more minefields out in pleasant conversation. I don't have to list them. I'm sure you've stumbled on to most of them yourselves. Often when one accidentally bumped into one of these subjects, one would be asked to leave this subject alone and the conversation moved on from there. The "bumper" then made a mental note never to breech this area of discussion with this person again. Wonderful."He was a man with a chip on his shoulder. Everyone seemed in a conspiracy to slight or injure him."" (from Phrase Finder)
Now, however, these chips can be bumped off in a virtual way. Social media interaction can cause a chip to be knocked off at a moment's notice. And, you don't even have to be communicating with the chip carrier to do the "knocking off." You can post a status for all your "friends." You can "like" a comment or status. (And, sometimes "like" doesn't mean like, sometimes it means, I agree with you, but if you have a chip balanced on your shoulder it can get knocked off fairly easily.)
Oh, the difficulties of social media.
I have a solution to this delicate situation. I know you are dying to know what it is. Well, I'll tell you, but I'm not sure you're going to like it. It's going to be hard to do. It's going to take a lot of effort. Some of you are REALLY going to struggle with this solution. But, I'm going to tell you anyway...
Grow up. Quit being a baby or a high school drama queen. Get some thicker skin. Get over yourself. The world is a tough place and if you go around with a chip on your shoulder, daring anyone you meet to knock it off, guess what? Someone is going to knock it off your shoulder. Whether it be on purpose or accidentally. The best thing you can do for yourself is to take that chip off your shoulder.
I hope I haven't hurt anyone's feelings by saying this. :)
Seriously, I DON'T want to ruffle feathers and hurt feelings. I'm so disappointed there is not an "Emily Post" for this new frontier of social interaction. And, I realize many of the users of this medium are teenagers and they just don't know any better, but that isn't who I'm speaking about here. You know who you are. I hear you talking in the locker rooms and the hair dresser. I hear you complaining about "so and so" and what she said on fb or what she tweeted. I see the whiny mommy blogs and the ranting political blogs. Grown-ups don't hide behind a computer and type things they wouldn't say to a person's face. Grown-ups don't hide up in the spare room and hide behind the smiling face of a profile picture. Grown-ups know there are many different sides of an issue. And they don't carry the chip on their shoulder. They know EVERYONE is thinking about themselves, not them. You are not the center of the universe anymore. We all are our own center. Right or wrong, most people are just thinking about themselves. Take the chip off your shoulder.
It's very unattractive.