Monday, March 16, 2009

Some expressions from the past

A family member recently said he was, "Busier than a hog on ice." That got me thinking about some sayings I learned from my elders. Expressions such as, "Don't go at it like you are killing snakes." One grandparent had a saying that always made us kids snicker, "Slicker than snot on a door knob" Eeewwww.

My dad would describe nicely painted cars, but without power, as being, "All show and no go." When my mother worried about someone's safety, dad would reply philosophically, "Some of them make it and some of them don't!"

Most of my family would describe bargaining for something as "jewing them down" I was so embarrassed when a friend informed me the saying was racist. I had never connected Jews with that expression. I honestly thought it was a separate word. Thank God for good friends that speak up to educate.

Dad often showed us creative ways to accomplish a task or make a repair. When asked how he knew that, he would reply, "It's an old Indian trick." I always wanted to meet his Indian friends as they had to be very smart! Could that expression be offensive as well?

Old expressions came up again today, when talking with my sister. I asked if I woke her with the early morning phone call. She said no, she was waiting for the coffee to "percolate."


  1. My mother would say somebody (usually her) was "graceful as a hog on ice," meaning not very, and I can absolutely see "busy as a hog on ice" too. I bet yours also described cowboy wannabes as "drugstore cowboys" or more specifically "Rexall cowboys," as well as "all hat, no cattle."

  2. I always liked, "Busier than a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest."
    Try to get a fast one by my mom and it was, "Do I look like I just fell off the turnip truck"?
    I often heard myself described as, "Not the brightest crayon in the box."
    I never figured out what that really meant.

  3. Oh, and buesier than a "one armed paper hanger"

  4. Old Indian Trick... my dad always said your dad used to say that. We'll see if I pass it along, I havea hard time thinking that one is really racist since it only applies to be remarkably clever.