This ’n’ That by Nicky De Lange
The other day I got to thinking of an expression my mother often used. It went: “I haven’t had so much fun since the pigs ate up little brother.”
Now there’s a conversation stopper, believe me. I discovered this when I found myself occasionally saying it. Oddly enough, I’ve only found one person who’d ever heard of it besides me.
But now we have computers, search engines and all this amazing technology, so I decided to look it up online. The results were fairly interesting.
It turned up on several websites, varying only slightly in the wording. But no one seemed to have a clue where or when it had originated. So much for amazing technology.
Undaunted by one failure, I decided to search for one of my dad’s expressions. As I remember, it went: “It’s colder out there than billy be damned!” I found several websites offering both that version and the alternative ‘It’s hotter out there than billy be damned”. I guess it depends on what climate you live in that determines the difference.
Again, I struck out on where this expression originated. Strike two for technology, amazing or not.
Not being one to quit, I gave it one more try, looking up another of my dad’s favorite comments about something going really wrong: “It’s going to hell in a hand basket.”
Finally, success! The origin of this strange phrase came from the idea that being carried to hell in a hand basket – or sometimes a cart – would make this journey more concrete in the listener’s mind. The basket or cart seems to imply swift transport to disaster.
Ignoring the old adage to quit while you’re ahead, I went for one more exploration. Back when I was a child, we didn’t have multi-lane freeways all over the place. A lot of family trips were made on two-lane roads.
Whenever my father got stuck behind some “Sunday driver” just poking along, he always said in an aggravated tone of voice: “Those people have nowhere to go and all day to get there!”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
I remember most of these sayings from my childhood. Like most children, I heard them often enough to subconsciously commit them
It doesn’t really matter where they originated. They’re part of my family history. Thinking of them brings back a lot of good memories. All the amazing technology in the world can’t top that experience.
As I complete this column, I find myself realizing something really important. I haven’t had this much fun since the pigs ate up little brother …