My mom used that all the time. So do I - because in the right context, it can be funny. Really!
Oh yeah, my siblings and I are still threatened with “40 lashes with a wet noodle” for minor infractions.
Perhaps that’s its original usage, but my recollection is that she used it to refer to something or someone who was moving very fast indeed.
My dad went to the “I’ll give you something to cry about,” school of parenting, though he was never mean about it.
His favorite saying when we worried about something trivial was, “The only thing you need to worry about is three minutes without oxygen.”
Wow, you just reminded me of once when I was like 4, my mom told her friend that was visiting “Well, I have to go see a man about a horse!” and headed off toward the restroom. Me being a 4 year old girl and obsessed with horses, I ran after her loudly asking what kind of horse were we getting, when, and when could I see it and could I ride it and so on. She had to calmly explain to me that it was a nice way of excusing yourself to go to the bathroom. I was, to say the least, disappointed.
My dad used to sing little snippets of songs to me…the two I remember were:
When I would ask him for help opening a jar/popping open a can of soda/building a playhouse, etc., he’s sing “Helpless, helpless, helpless helpless…”
Any time I’d start a sentence with “I want” he’d sing to me “You can’t always get what you want…”
My father used to say: “I’ll larrup you a windin’!” as a vague threat … which he never carried out, so now I wonder what the hell ‘larruping’ must be.
My grandfather and grandmother would say, “Tote” and “stout” inappropriately (I thought): They’d say “He’s a stout 'un” meaning “he’s a strong one.” and “Tote that cane over t here for me” with “tote” as a synonym for “carry.” They used a lot of very anachronistic mountain terms … wish I’d paid more attention …
Tote that barge, lift that bale.
One of my father’s very favorite things is to belt out the opening verse of Old Man River whenever he’s asked to do anything.
My mum had a few of these. We would be “off like a herd of turtles” or we’d “shuffle off to Buffalo”. “What’s for dinner?” was answered with “Food” or “Bread and with-it”. When we were tucked in to bed, we were “snug as a bug in a rug”.
Ack! Preview and submit are different buttons!
There was also:
“Hay? Hay is for horses.”
“So? Sew buttons on your underpants”
And saying “yah” always got you “Yes is with an ‘s’”.
My dad always said “so-and-so”. So my sister and I started saying it, too, like “And then Mr. So-and-so” and my mum would reply with “The tailor?” which neither of us understood but my parents would laugh and laugh. I’m quite sure they were setting us up for this one. Jerks.
My dad did this, too! I also got threatened with 30 lashes with a wet noodle, and he regularly said, “Aaaand we’re OFF! like a herd of turtles!” (Sometimes he subbed “turd of hurdles.”) He often told us kids, “I’ll shock the nit outta you!” (This was, of course, said with humor!)
I love that, DianaG!
Reminds me of a time when I fell asleep on the beach up at the family cabin, and got a bad sunburn. When I walked inside, my uncle took one look at me and sang out, “Here she comes, Miss Nova!”
Cracked me up even then.
My dad tried for years to give THE LOOK convincingly. It was all I could do to keep from bursting out laughing. Some people just don’t have it.
Clever, but what does it mean?
Reminds me of my 10th grade Humanities teacher. Whenever someone was leaning back on the back legs of their chair, Mr. Aguirre would say “Don’t do that, you might fall down and hurt the chair.”
I can’t believe so many parents say “off like a herd of turtles” and “jiggity jog”. How utterly silly.
Two that I heard constantly from my father:
“It’s the law of the pack”
“Cunning and treachery will overcome youth and skill every time”
Y’all don’t know where the “home again, home again, jiggity jig/jog” comes from? It’s a nursery rhyme:
My dad used to say, “Oh, you’re full of beans!” whenever we did or said something silly and “oh, fote!” instead of an obscenity. When confronted with a lot of traffic, usually at one particular intersection near our house, he’d say “Somebody left the gate open!” and I’d look and look for an open gate somewhere. One day I finally asked where the gate was and he said it was just an expression for all the traffic, which was like a herd of cows wandering out of an open gate.
Usually, this was in response to us whining about little problems that seemed huge as an adolescent; I always took it to mean “Go in a corner and count yourself, and if you come up with more than one, come back and tell me, and then I’ll be willing to consider that you have a problem”.
If we were acting up, my mom would threaten us:
“You’re cruisin’ for a bruisin’.”
“I’m going to paddle your canoe!”
“There’s gonna be smoke on the water!”
If we whined for something we weren’t going to get:
“Don’t hold your breath.”
“Don’t stand on one leg.” (waiting for that.)
If the place was a mess it looked “like Tobacco Road” or “like the gypsies live here.”
One of my father’s minced oaths was “Good night, Nurse!”
My favorite was not said by my mother, but a friends mom.
She used to say, “I should have eaten you when your bones were soft!”.
Whenever we whined, “What’s for tea/dinner?” My mother would reply with a frustrated “Dead dog and cabbage”. Not sure where she got this, but the tone would often mean that a) she hadn’t yet decided what to make for dinner or b) you would be eating whatever was served up.
Other parents opted for the slightly naughtier, “Shit with sugar on top”
My mother used the saying “blue fit” in different instances.
One for describing an explosive reaction - eg,“Dad had a blue fit when he found out we’d damaged his car”.
The other use was for something that would never happen (eg pigs might fly) - “that’ll never happen in a blue fit”
Interestingly enough, my mother’s 2nd cousin’s children often used their mother’s saying of things that happened in a “pink fit”.
I’m another one from the jiggity-jig & herd of turtles clan, I think.
One I hadn’t seen mentioned above… not from my parents, but my mother-in-law: every time she sees me after I get a haircut, “Hey, you got your ears lowered!”
That was one in our family too. Whenever it was time for my brother to get a haircut Dad would say that. Grandma would also joke about needing to go out and buy a dog license.