Apple-knocker is an expression that doesn’t find a commonplace in the popular lexicon. Oxford Dictionary defines apple–knocker as “an unsophisticated person” and Merriam Webster states it simply as “rustic.” The phrase apparently came from fruit harvesters using long sticks to dislodge the hanging crop.
City folks commonly refer to villagers (country folks) as apple-knockers. Though the phrase sounds one shade funny and one shade demeaning, it’s a nice euphemistic addition to the intellectuals’ vocabulary. Well, you may not find an equivalent expression of this English phrase in other languages! But, then that’s the beauty of salad bowl languages!
It’s easy to overlook and undermine an apple-knocker. After all, we do not expect any finesse in their mannerisms! On the other hand, their presence at times makes one feel embarrassed. They sure fit into the place where they hail from. But in sophisticated gatherings and posh localities or in places where people of polished mannerisms operate, they are considered to be out-of-place.
But had it not been for such rustics around us, much of the luxury that we enjoy today might not have been within easy reach. Think of the farmer who sweats in the summer heat to sow and till. Had the sweaty stinky farmer not laboured hard in his field, many would not have food on their table.
While the blue-collar workers are often the most neglected lot in any society, their contribution to keep a household or an organization running is indisputable. The door needs drilling – call the carpenter; the tap needs fixing – call the plumber; the streets need cleaning – hire a sweeper and the list goes on. These are the apple-knockers around us and many-a-times we may be guest to their volley of abusive expletives and stiff-neckedness. However without them around, life would be a lot more cumbersome than our present challenges and commitments already make it.
So yes, as we add this phrase to our vocabularies, let’s exercise caution while treating the apple-knockers around us with the minimum dignity they deserve.