Tuesday, November 15, 2005

This is where I came in.

When I was a kid movies were always double features plus cartoons.

Does the term, double feature even mean anything to you? When did they stop showing double features I wonder? We would actually sit through some movie like Strangers on a Train and then a couple of cartoons like Tom and Jerry or the Road Runner (my personal favorite) and then sit through another movie, say, Roy Rogers in Pals of the Golden West.
Incidentally, Trigger, Roy's Horse got higher billing than Roy's wife Dale Evans in that one. That Roy. Seemed to like his horse better'n his wife.

You could enter the movie at any point. They didn't clear out the theater between showings. Didn't bring up the lights, just kept looping the films over and over. Often folks came in during the middle of a show. They watched whatever was left of the movie, then whatever came next and so on. Then the first show, the one that was playing when they entered, came on again and they would watch that until they got to the point where they had entered. Then they would get up and leave, saying, "This is where I came in."

But people use the expression "This is where I came in," now. Do they know how it started?

We speak of "dial tone." But no one actually has a phone with dials on it anymore. We dial up someone. Only we actually push buttons. Do kids understand that word?

People refer to "A catch 22," but do they know what that was originally? Catch-22 originated from a 1961 novel by Joseph Heller, where one bureaucratic regulation is dependent on another, which in turn is dependent on the first. I say things like, "you can't get there from here." I don't know where that came from.

Even kids say that they are going to "hit the hay." They probably don't know that mattresses used to be stuffed with hay or straw, so that's how "hit the hay" came to mean "go to bed."

Did you know that the term "deadline" originated in the American Civil War, where a prisoner would be shot if they crossed a line around the prison or prison camp? I didn't. Seems harsh. I didn't realize that the term "brownie points" came from Girl Scouts either! Brownie G.S. had a point system that gave girls points for achievement. The term was first used in World War II when soldiers acted silly or kid-like.

I did guess that "Close but no cigar" came from the fact that old carnivals gave out cigars as prizes. 'Course now it just means to come close to achieving your goal, but failing. People don't think of carnival prizes when they use that phrase.

Sometimes families have there own sayings. When I was a kid and I said in front of my mother, "I had somethin' to say, but I forgot it." My Mama would say, "Well, I guess it wasn't very important then." I guess her theory was that you wouldn't forget something like the house was on fire. I would say that to my kids too after I grew up.

One evening over thirty years ago at the dinner table, daughter dddragon said that she had forgotten what she was going to say, and I repeated my mother's line. Immediately 3D said, "Oh! Now I remember! I'm radioactive!" That became a family tradition.

Does your family have some private idiomatic expressions? Feel like sharing them?


Ivy the Goober said...

Sometimes my dad would say "who pulled YOUR chain?" if I offered my un-asked for opinion. :)

AP3 said...

It's always so hard for me to imagine that the movies were like that! When I was a kid, sitting through one 2 hour movie seemed hard... can't imagine watching two in a row!

Another one 3D started: Sad news.

LeeAnn said...

When I lived at home, if I was trying to find something, say, a school book, if I asked my stepdad, "Have you seen my book?" he would ask, "Did you look for it?" When I'd tell him yes he'd say, "No you didn't. If you would have looked you would have found it!" That use to make me so mad! Now I use it on my husband and daughter *hehehe*

Great blog!

Doug said...

Aral, that was a fantastic line, I'm still chuckling.

Here are some lines I think belong to the Pascovers

When someone is super-annoying, they "make my teeth itch."

You already know about "you can kid'em a little"

When something would be very, very wrong but kind of funny to say you "go for the line." (Among us, that's a rule not a choice.)

I can't remember if my brother or I were pouting, but our folks tried to get us to ease up. Whichever it was said "don't talka me, talka the ceiling" That lives on. If this post stays up long enough, I'll explain why my sister said she "isn't the bright one in the family."

dddragon said...

hahaha Aral, I sat thru The Right Stuff AND Yentl!! beat that!!

That was the last double feature that I saw.

Tan Lucy Pez said...

Ivy - We'd say "Who rattled your cage?" when I was a girl.

AP3 - Movies usually were NOT 2 hours. Roy Rogers stuff was usually one hour or so. But it was a LONG afternoon at the movies for sure. Yeah, Sad News said 20 different ways.

LeeAnn - Did you look? Or was it easier to just ask?

Doug - You HAVE to keep going! We'd all suffer great withdrawal.

Tan Lucy Pez said...

3D- we crossed in the airwaves.

You poor kid. You did like the movies. But Yentl? Arrrrghhhhh....

kenju said...

Tan Lucy, I remember double features well, and you are right, we never went in at the start of the movie - just whenever we got there and left at the same point. I miss the old time cartoons the most.

My mother-in-law used to say "Mary come naked, thrush of the woods". No one knew what she was talking about! I will have to think about what more my famiy said....I am sure there are many.

natasha said...

When you forgot something obvious, it was a brain-fart.

Classy, I know. :P

Or ...

Me: Why?
Mother: Because I'm the parent and you're the child.

I always hated that one.

"Taking a walk" meant having sex. This came about when our family popped by the house of family friends. Their car was in the driveway, but no one answered the door. Too young to know what they could be doing, my parents said the couple must be "taking a walk", so we would have to go home and visit later. It wasn't until years later, when my innocence was shattered ...

Me: Dad, can I go out with my friends on Friday?
Dad: Yeah, sure.
Mom: *from another room* What? Where is she going?
Dad: Out with her friends. It's alright. We can go for a walk on Friday.
Mom: *still in the other room* What?!? I don't want to go for a walk!
Dad: *moving closer* No, we can go for a walk.
Me: *realization has dawned, suddenly wishing I was NOT hearing this conversation*
Mom: But I just said-
Me: Oh for God's sake Mother, he means "have sex". Even I got that one!

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I remember double features plus a cartoon, plus the 'Newsreel'....I loved that you could go in anytime and stay all day and night, if you wanted to,and we did, sometimes..those days are loooong gone, aren't they? And what it costs today just to get into a movie theatre--forget about the cost of FOOD!!! (lol)
I love all the sayings and their meanings, too. Great Post!!!

Doug said...

OK, well, My sister has two older brothers, neither of whom did well in school. I suspect but wasn't sure that the grandparents didn't get regular updates on our report cards. Jenna worked hard and was really bright and her grades reflected that. One time when she was in High School, my grampa (the one that tackled Reagan) called and talked to her. She had just received her report card and proudly told him "Pop-pop, I got four A's and a B in school!" His response was "That's alright, no-one expected you to be the bright one in the family."

That line lives on in the family and comes out every time she does something good or feels underappreciated. That's a lot.

Minka said...

A favourite German one, don´t know if you here those in the US:
"As long as you put your feet under our table, you do what we say!" I mean how can you argue with that? Whenever I heard that it send a chill down my spine and I was ready to climb up the walls.
I have the book Catch22 by Joseph Heller, didn´t know it was used in a phrase though.
When I was little I stayed over summer at my grandma´s place. She had those huge darkblue matresses with yellow lines on them. They were really thick. Whenever I couln´t sleep I just poked at them, once I had made a hole...yes there was hay in them :)

Doug said...

Monika, I heard the first one as "as long as you live under my roof..."

Mike said...

"As long as you live under my roof" was one of the fave's used in my house growing up. Thanks for the history behind the sayings. Never would've thought that about the "close but no cigar' one.

Tan Lucy Pez said...

Kenju- That Mary.

Natasha - I love it!

Old Lady - I remember movies being used as a baby sitter, and yes the price now is stunning.

Doug - Great story! Poor little sis.

Monika - I guess parents all over the world say something like that. I'm happy to report that I was never told that, nor do I remember saying it to my kids.

Mike - I have no doubt that YOU needed to hear it! But I can see how much you love your mom.

lime said...

great post, i love learnign idioms origins.

weird family one.....as a newlywed i could not find my car keys and asked hubby if he had seen them. he responded, "the last time me and mrs. gasman played with them we put them right back." i wanted to know who she was and why was she playing with my keys. apparently she was the neighborhood kook when my hubby was growing up and in his house she got blamed for lost items as a way of saying, 'it is you rresponsibility to keep track of your things.' over the summer we visited my hubby's hometown and our kids were tickled to drive by the famous mrs. gasman's house. my son asked if we could knock on the door and ask for his missing lego pieces.

Lucy said...

I don't know how you come up with this stuff.

My mom use to say S*iT and 2 is 8. Her way of venting.. afterall she was raising 5 kids -- and did not drive. It wasn't til years later - i thought .. how did she come up with this? I never asked her and now i can't.

My dad - was always going to see a man about a dog. i think everyone knows what this means.

Double features --- i do remember these.

BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

Hmm...I remember all of what you are speaking, and I also remember when a Hershey bar was a nickel.

Remember when they had real live operators on the phones?

Thanks for all your kind words on my blog.

The Lazy Iguana said...

You forgot a few!

Everyone has been "three sheets to the wind" (drunk as all get out), but where did this come from?

Any sailor worth his or her salt knows that a sheet is NOT something you put on a bed, it is a line (there are NO ropes on a boat, only lines) that holds a sail in place. It was common for ships to have three masts. So, if your ship had "three sheets to the wind" your sails were flopping around all willy-nilly and your had no control over where the boat would go. Much like a drunk person staggering around.

A "bender" came from an old English coin. The coin was made from silver, and if you gave one to a pub owner he would keep you tanked up for a few days. Going "on a bender" meant you were going out with a six-pence coin, and would be drunk for the next few days. Why bender? If you could bend the coin, it meant it was pure silver and not fake.

As for my family sayings, I always liked "slick as owl shit". As in "that iced over bridge is slick as owl shit". Do owls poop teflon or something?

OldHorsetailSnake said...

Not quite the same, but there's this: My brother in law is quite a story teller. Recently he started a story, and I said, "You told me that before." And HE said, "Well, you're gonna hear it again." He was pumped, and unstoppable, at age 82.

Tan Lucy Pez said...

Lime - That's a great one!

Lucy - That must be New Math!

Barbara -Of course I remember operators.

Lazy I - Good ones. I imagine that all bird sh*t is slippery.

Hoss - I like it! Spirit.

Müzikdüde said...

I always thought it was cute when dad would say, "Get outta my way or I'll shove this grenade up your...and pull the pin"

ok...not really.

By the way...am I the only one that gets words like, "Idiot" and "Loser" for word verification everytime I comment?

Amber said...

My sis-in-law (long before she became my sis-in-law) was being teased relentlessly by one of her cousins during one of our endless volleyball games back when we were teens.

Every time she missed the ball, (which was often, unfortunately for her) he'd rush at her and scream, "You MISSED! YOU MISSED! NYAH!" in her face.

And laugh really loud at her.

You know how young guys full of too much testosterone can over-tease at that age and quickly become annoying as hell.

She was a quiet little thing, never said much, but she got more and more annoyed and finally in mortification screamed back at him:

"Why don't you SPEAK where your MOUTH is!"

Which didn't really make sense. Not even to her, because we all looked rather confused. (what? what did she say?)

And yet, and yet....it sorta did make sense too.

So ever after that, whenever we needed a quick putdown in the family, that's what we'd say. :-)

Sar said...

When I was a growing up, my mom would try to counter her sarcastic and cynical influence by telling me to "watch the donut not the hole" whenever I'd focus on something negative. Guess that's how I wound up a snarky, ranting optomist.

Tan Lucy Pez said...

Müzikdüde- the word verification thingie just calls'em as it sees'em.

Amber - That kinda does make sense to me.

Sar- Good ol' Mom.

Libby said...

lucy...my mom used to say it made her really mad when she was young & came downstairs in the morning in a bad mood...her grandma (also named Libby) would ask "who piddled in your cornflakes?"
BoUnCeS!! LibbY!

Tan Lucy Pez said...


Jamie Dawn said...

My mom has a ton of one liners that have made their way into my vocab.
Here are a couple of words we used in my family:

windy: I let a windy. windy = fart We never said the word fart in my house.

jigger: Jigger is what we called the penis. I still can't hear that word without thinking of a penis.

actonbell said...

Hey, 3D, we remember riding our bikes to the theatre, sitting thru previews, cartoons, and two movies. Gee, it wasn't that long ago...

Bela said...

I don't remember any specific expressions being used in my family, but I do remember continuous performances in French cinemas. My mother (who was a real film buff) and I used to turn up and go in at any point in the film and usually stay for a whole second showing, if we'd enjoyed it a lot. She or I would say, "Oh, let's just see one more scene," and "Oh, wait this next one's so good." These days, going to the cinema is so expensive and such a palaver here.

Monique said...

Whenever people used to tell me I was right about something, I'd immediately quip "Of course I'm right, I'm always right." No one ever tells me I'm right anymore, though... :(

Have a routine with my daughter every night at bedtime... I tell her "sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite." Then she waits until I'm out of the room and yells after me "There's no such thing as bed bugs!"

Savtadotty said...

If one of us was in a bad mood, Mom would say, "Somebody got out of the wrong side of the bed this morning." When I was still a literal-minded little kid, that one mystified me, because all our beds were against a wall. Duh!

If my mom's slip was showing below her skirt (she wore a slip!), my dad would say, "Your Tuesday is after your Wednesday!"

Saur♥Kraut said...

Another absolutely marvellous post!!! I didn't know the origins of 'deadline' and although I knew about double features, no one explained them to me like that. I had no idea the movies would keep on an eternal loop like that!

My family has some 'private idiomatic expressions', but some of them derive from when I was a baby (I was the eldest) and couldn't say certain words. "Pody" means pillow, for some reason, and we still all use it (and so do my kids).

I also remember the phrase "It stinks to high heaven" being perverted by me to "It stinks to heaven high." I still have a tendency to trip up and say that!

weirsdo said...

My father used to say he was "beyond sainthood."
My mother used sometimes to say, "Yeah, and if frogs had wings they wouldn't bump their fannies on the sidewalk."

KristieD said...

We have a few weird little family sayings in my family. One my parents stole from my mom's grandfather was to get up at the butt-crack of dawn, stand in the hallway and yell as loudly as possible: "DAYLIGHT IN THE SWAAAAMPS!!!!" - and wake us girls up in just such a wonderful mood. And if we ignored my mom- she would start throwing soft things at us like rolls of toilet paper and our stuffed animals. She knew she had succeeded in waking us up when we started throwing the stuff back at her.

Another one- "Krittie-germs". As a youngster, my sisters called me Krittie. When we got older, somehow it was always my fault when i got a cold and spread it to the WHOLE family and all of our friends' family...so they called me "typhoid kristie" and started calling it "Krittie Germs"...We still call it that when we are sick. Even if i catch it from them.

Tan Lucy Pez said...

J.D.- Jigger will never be the same for me either.

Acton Bell - yeah, and no one stole the bikes either.

Bela - I still sometimes wish I could stay and see the start of a movie over. Not allowed I don't think.

Monique - I know how that saying got started. Learned while touring an old house in Plymouth Rock: They used to use ropes to make the cross frame on which to put the straw mattress. The ropes would loosen and occasionally need to be tightened up for a good night's sleep. The straw did indeed have fleas or some bugs that did bite.

Tan Lucy Pez said...

Savtadotty- the slip is a new one on me! We just said, "you're slipping." (Back in the day. Do you own a slip now?) Wrong side of the bed was an old superstition that goes back to the time of the Romans. The left side of the bed was considered bad luck.

Saurkraut - I have a feeling you have started a lot of "sayings" in your life!

weirsdo - Oh! I'm going to steal the frog one! I like that.

KristieD - What an awakening! Good job Mama! And you, Krittie, so misunderstood.

Keith said...

If we had company for dinner or anything and my dad wanted to go for a pee he would say "I'm just going outside to turn my bike round", or if he wanted a poo (needing a longer time) he said "Just going out to check on the horses and put them to bed". Of course nobody believed him, we all knew he was going for a crap, but were too polite to say "Have a nice one!"

Christine said...

My mom was big on this one when we were being nosey..

"Are you writing a book?"

which of course we replied YES

"Well, leave this part out"

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