Well, Cod Liver Oil was an extract (from cod livers; go figure) that was high in essential vitamins (A &D primarily) and was used as a spoon-fed dietary supplement for children to stave off rickets, back when. I think it tasted horrible, which is probably why someone eventually figured out how to put it in pill form.
Whenever us kids screwed up, my Dad would shake his head wearily, and simply say, “Well, you can’t put the shit back in the mule.”
If I ever said something like, “We’re going to go play out in the snow!” my dad would say, “You have a mouse in your pocket?” Meaning, you may be going out there, but I’m staying in here by the warm fire. I always thought that was hilarious.
A couple of times when I was struggling to do something I found difficult, and my mom would tell me to hurry up and do it already, I’d whine, “I’m TRYYYING!!” To which she would exasperatedly mutter, “Yes, you’re VERY trying.”
I didn’t get that one until I was about 23. (She doesn’t remember saying it. I thought it was MY job to block out my childhood!)
When we got home from somewhere and pulled the car into the garage, my mom would say, “Home again, home again, jiggety jig.” Bet she doesn’t remember that one either.
My dad, brother, and I all have a very loving and affectionate habit of calling each other morons. And I don’t know if I’ll ever find out how this started, but now we do not call each other morons–we call each other “moroons”.
“If beggars were choosers, then horses would ride.” I wrote that one myself.
My dad was impatient with the speed of my…everything. He called me Stepin Fetchit. I knew he was insulting me, but I didn’t get it until years later. I had never seen any of Mr. Fetchit’s movies. He was a great comic actor, and Dad was bashing me with his onscreen persona.
"Huh? Pull a pig’s tail, and he’ll say ‘Uh huh.’ "
When I was little, whenever we’d ask what was for dinner, my mom’s jokey-cranky response would be “crabs and ice water!” (i.e. basically nothing).
When I’d call out for my mom, she’d say, “That’s my name, don’t wear it out!”
My dad has an expression passed down from his father for a fake or wimpy sounding illness: “Australian Creeping Moopus”.
My mom has a similar expression to C3’s dad’s, except it’s a frog in the pocket.
There are a lot more that I can’t think of at the moment. For the majority of the weird expressions my parents use, I don’t know if they’re common sayings, cultural references, vestigial Yiddishisms, or what.
My mother would always refer to my siblings and me as “the children of the corn,” as in “come on children of the corn, time to go shopping” (or whatever).
I learned a couple years ago that the children of the corn were a religious cult in the Stephen King short story of the same name. This cult of children was fond of killing their parents, and all adults in general. I asked my mother if she was aware of this, and she said she had never heard of the short story, or the resulting movies. She said she didn’t remember why she started calling us that.
I then, of course, had to go out and watch the film adaptation and 6 terrible sequels. Fun stuff.
She still calls us the children of the corn for some reason.