Monday, 4 June 2018

Itchy Nose ... by Joan Lennon

You know those sayings we hear as children, accept without question, and then hear ourselves saying to the next generation ... sometimes in quite public situations like a workshop or a talk, and sometimes to completely bewildered faces?

I grew up in Canada, so maybe those odd sayings may have their roots in a maple tree.  Or maybe not.  Here are a few that have come all unsuspecting out of my adult mouth, having been put into my childhood brain -

1. Itchy nose, kiss a fool.  Did my mother make this up because she liked kissing people?

2. In response to an uncovered yawn - I can see China.  Um ...

3. Violence is the last resort of the incompetent.  This was trotted out when I got frustrated by being so much younger than everybody else and engaged in ineffective punching.  Apparently it's a not-quite-correct rendition of an Isaac Asimov quote.  All I know is, it didn't then and it doesn't now make you less angry!

And it's over to you.  What sayings did you absorb as a child that have since found their way out of your mouth and into an uncomprehending world?  Share in the comments below.  Let's give these linguistic oddities a good old airing!   

Joan Lennon's website.
Joan Lennon's blog.
Walking Mountain.


Susan Price said...

Oh Joan, so many...
Whenever a sudden crowd of people or traffic appears unexpectedly: "Who rattled the chickens' cage?" -- Only the other day my partner asked me, mystified, 'What's that mean?'

When someone makes a great fuss or drama about something: "You'm playing Hamlet up.'
When someone behaves foolishly: "You'd stand coal cracking on your head."

After a filling meal: "I could crack a flea [on my belly]."

On someone who gives themselves airs: "They're like the Hagley Monument." [Stuck up for no reason.] The Hagley Monument is still stuck up on its hill but, as it hasn't been newsworthy for 90 years or longer, few people are familiar with this local joke.

Oh, and a cheeky, pushy person 'has more brass-neck than Polly on the fountain.' It was explained to me that 'Polly' was a statue that decorated a fountain 'on the top of Oldbury town.' She was bronze but was said to be brass to keep her in her place. She and her fountain were removed before I was born -- perhaps at the First or Second WW?

I'd better leave off and give someone else a chance.

Val Tyler said...

"You'd laugh to see a pudding crawl.'
Meaning - You'd find anything funny. I think this is from Sussex, UK.

Joan Lennon said...

These are great - I'm going to adopt them for sure!

Anne Booth said...

I know that I often say 'plug out' instead of unplug - and that comes from my family! But I am in awe of yours and Susan's range!

Bob Newman said...

From Lincolnshire, I offer "like a wezzle up a bit o' keck" = "in the manner of a weasel ascending a stalk of cow parsley" = "very quickly".

Joan Lennon said...

"Plug out" makes absolute sense, and "like a wezzle up a bit o' keck" is just gorgeous!

Susan Price said...

I love 'like a wezzle up a bit of keck' too. And I've just remembered, "As black as the inside of a funeral hat in a coal-hole." To describe a dark night. A coal-hole is the shed, cellar or bin where coal was kept. Also 'at the bottom of a pit.' Meaning a coal-mine.