Here’s one a Smith County boy shared with my brother, Dewey. Seems his father used to say, “If you don’t use your head, you might as well have two rear ends.” I cleaned that one up a bit.
That brings to mind a saying I use to hear a lot when I was growing up. “He doesn’t know his backside from a hole in the ground.” I cleaned that one up, too. Speaking of rear ends, I was reading a list of humor explanations submitted on auto insurance claims some time back. Here’s one of my favorites, “I was on my way to the doctor with rear end trouble when I had an accident.” That could be interpreted in more ways than one.
Here’s another, “In my attempt to kill a fly, I ran into a telephone pole.”
One more, “I was driving down the road, looked over at my mother-in-law and ran off the road.”
Dorothy Dillman, of Lafayette, reminded me of what her father used to say when he observed a woman who was scantily dressed. “She doesn’t have on enough clothes to wad a shotgun.” That stirred my recollection of what my mother use to say when she saw a woman whose pants were too tight. “Her britches look like she was melted and poured in ‘em.”
Dorothy also mentioned, “Don’t beat a dead horse.” That reminded me of a saying from Goethe, “If the horse is dead, get off.” Be careful with that one.
I suppose we all have, at one time or another, found ourselves “between a rock and a hard place.” My late mother use to say, “It’s an ill wind that blows nobody good.” How about this one? “Out of the frying pan and into the fire.”
Friend, Nancy Cornwell, offered one of her late mother’s favorites. “You are judged by the company you keep.” And we have all heard, “Birds of a feather flock together.” And how about “one rotten apple can spoil the whole barrel?”
Here’s a few more from Margie Shrum, of Mt. Juliet:
“Mean as a snake,” “clean as a whistle,” “cross as a bear,” “cheap as dirt,” “green as a gourd,” “quick as a rabbit,” “sweet as sugar,” “high as a kite” and “drunk as a skunk.” “I don’t chew my tobacco twice,” and “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”
My Grandmother Lena used to chide me with these words, “Be the job, big or small, do it well or not at all.” When I was a small boy, I would sometimes answer her in the negative by saying, “na-aw.” “Rats gnaw.” she would fire back.
Willie Nelson pinned a song lyric I have always thought to be most descriptive. “His horse was fast as polished steel.” Which makes me think of “slick as glass.” And here’s one of my favorites, “Slick as snot on a door knob.”
And how about “dumber than a box of rocks” or “he looks like he’s been hit with the ugly stick” or “ugly as sin?”
My friend and former boss, the late Randall Hackett, used to tease, “When they were passing out brains, you thought they said trains, and you missed yours.” Or “When they were passing out noses, you thought they said roses, and you said, ‘give me a big, red one.’” I miss his playful humor.
Those of the World War II generation lived by these sayings, “Hard work never hurt anyone,” Early to bed, early to rise; makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise,” and “You can rest when you die.”
When I think of that generation, these saying come to mind, “Honest as the day is long,” “His word is his bond,” “If he said it, you can take it to the bank,” and “As faithful as the sunrise.”
Which brings me to the end of this column.
“May the “force” be with you.”
“May the good Lord bless and keep you.”
“Y’all come back now, you hear?”
Jack McCall is a regular contributing columnist to The Hartsville Vidette and The Lebanon Democrat. His new book, “Mansions in Your Memory,” can be purchased at D.T. McCall & Sons in Lebanon.