Awhile back, the Goat and I helped my aunt and uncle move into an assisted living apartment and got an unsolicited bonus: front row tickets to a major fit-pitchin’. My aunt, the fit-pitcher, had been working up to it for several weeks. The fit started with a medley of ear-splitting shrieks, climaxed with a bathroom drawer smack-down and ended with me crawling around the floor picking up pill bottles and straight pins and cotton balls and cosmetic cases while somewhat simultaneously patting my aunt on the back and assuring her everything would be okay. Three other adults were in the next room, but I’m the only one who attended the show. I guess it takes a fit-pitcher to appreciate a pitched fit.
I come from a long line of fit-pitchers, and I say “pitchers” deliberately. One can have a fit, throw a fit, or pitch a fit. It’s a matter of degree, and, in my mind, if you feel the need for a fit, then you ought to make it a good one. As any Southern girl worth her grits knows (and in matters of fit-pitchin’, Texas girls are more Southern than Scarlett O’Hara), a fit that is thrown is more intense than a fit simply had. However, if you’re going for the Oscar, only a pitched fit will do. One throws a snotty Kleenex in the trash can, but a major league ball player can pitch a fastball at over 100 mph. See the difference?
Adjectives further delineate between fits that are hardly worth the effort and those that are legendary. A fit without any qualifiers comes and goes without a lot of notice. Then there are conniption fits and hissy fits. A conniption fit is what the cartoon character, Yosemite Sam, routinely has when things don’t go his way. If you add a couple dozen wet cats, a rabid raccoon and a few riled-up rattlesnakes to the mix, you are partially on your way to having a hissy fit. While a conniption fit can be thrown or pitched, a hissy fit is, overwhelmingly, pitched.
All that said, my aunt’s pitched hissy fit is a thing of the past, and nothing (except a couple of cosmetic cases) suffered any permanent damage. She apologized profusely and somewhat sincerely a few days later, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be another one. I hope the cabinet drawers are up to it.