When my parents would complain about their children getting into trouble, my Polish grandfather offered this sage wisdom: “You got’a little kids, you got’a little troubles. You got’a big’a kids, you got’a big’a troubles.” I’m not sure how this was supposed to help but I always enjoyed hearing my mother do that impression of her Old Country father.
My parents were nobody to talk about crazy expressions as they had plenty of their own. Here are a few of my favorites from my mother:
“If wishes were fishes we’d all be fried.” I was well into adulthood before I realized the common phrase is: “If wishes were horses then beggars would ride” but the basic idea was that wishing for something was useless and now, as an adult, I think I prefer my mother’s unique version.
“You just want to do what you want to do.” I recall the day I pointed out the failed logic of this. Doesn’t everybody, by definition, want to do what they want to do? (Pro tip: Best not to question these things.)
“If it’s for you it won’t go by you.” This was meant to be reassuring. If something was supposed to happen, then it would, and you shouldn’t worry about it. I don’t necessarily agree with this but I appreciate the comfort it was meant to bring.
“You can catch a thief but you can’t catch a liar.” I guess with a thief there is tangible evidence but since liars just use words they can’t be caught. Columbo did it all the time though. Just saying.
“If he can live with it, I can live without it.” This means that if someone is going to cheat me and his conscience will allow it then I’ll get by even though I’ve been wronged. It’s pretty self-righteous and I like it a lot.
Then there was my Dad, who was no slouch with the sayings himself. Here are a few of George’s Gems:
“You’re not going to a wedding.” He would say this if you were taking too long getting ready to go someplace, implying that you were primping excessively. He even said it if we WERE going to a wedding which, as a child, I found hilarious.
“It looks like Washington Street in here.” The location, I think, refers to a run-down part of Syracuse at the time and it meant that the room was a mess and needed to be cleaned up. We still say this and, I’m proud to report, so do my kids.
“Clambake.” He used this to refer to any social gathering. If we were expected at someone’s house for a birthday party, he’d ask: “What time is this clambake?” It’s fun. You should try it.
“You’re right out of the funny papers.” This is an insult that means you are ridiculous. My own family hears this one quite a bit.
“I want to see where I’ve been.” When we went someplace new, Dad wouldn’t drive right to the location but explore a bit first. This made my mother crazy but he would explain, “I just want to see where I’ve been.”
“Suit up, you’re going in.” This was something he said when his football team was losing so badly they needed MY help.
I asked my own children if they had any examples of silly things I say and they came up with a couple:
“That’s how you know you’re not in heaven yet.” I would say this when there was complaining over trivial things like shoes that made your toes stick together.
“Go find a mirror and see what a bad boy/girl looks like.” This was mostly said as a joke if someone made a mess but my daughter now says it to her cat when she gets into trouble, which I find very satisfying.
Did your parents have some memorable sayings? Leave a note in the comments!