Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Say what...?

The other day I was stuck in traffic - and no, not the day from the post below - and I was jammed in behind a Japanese-made, steel-and-glass tribute to one of Oregon's great traffic traditions, Let's Move Left And Drive Really Slow In The Passing Lane. I finally gave up trying to pass to the right, threw up my hands and shouted at the guy's bumper:

"You're slower than a day without bread!"

Maybe it was because I had SO much time on my hands that I started thinking about that expression, my verbal SOP for anything painfully slow. It's an odd phrase; IS a day without bread slow, and why? Where did I pick it up?

For the "day without bread" line I can remember exactly where I picked it up - from a coffeetable book I had as a junior high age kid about "Famous Sieges" (see, I was already a War Nerd, even at 14) In the article about the Siege of Turin there was a delightfully oddball little story about a Piedmontese sapper by the name of Pietro Micca. The story was that Pietro and his squaddies were preparing some demo to explode a party of attacking Frenchmen and the other guys were moving like pond water. Pietro shoved the ragazzi della scimmia back down the tunnel shouting that they were slower than the aforementioned day without bread and fired the det cord, blowing himself and the Frenchies out of the world and into legend.

For some reason I really liked Pietro's frustrated slogan, and I've used it for 35 years now.

So now I wonder...am I wierd? Am I the only person who does this, picks up off-kilter tags and phrases out of books or movies or quotations and recycles them?

Do you? And if you do, what is it/are they? I'm really curious; drop me a comment and let me know - what's your "day without bread"?

11 comments:

Mrs. Vandertramp said...

How about "slow as cold molasses"? I like that one because I have a strong general dislike for molasses. I also have a great appreciation for "happy as a pig in mud."

Anonymous said...

Having read your comments on the Intel Dump for the past year and now your blog, I'd say you're one of the most sane (and what should pass as normal) men on the planet.

Meghan H said...

I have inherited some real midwestern doozies from my family. Observe:
"There's not enough room in here to swing a cat." (Awesome!)
"Man, I was all over that like a cheap suit." (???)
"Better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick."

There are so many more that I just can't think of right now...

walternatives said...

I've recently starting using "I don't have a dog in this fight" but swiped it from someone at the Goob's office, not a movie.

The Minstrel Boy said...

i like non-sequiter westernisms. stuff like he lies so much he has to hire folks to call the dogs.

FDChief said...

Meghan: "There's not enough room in here to swing a cat." I like that one too. I've heard a variation that goes "You can't (or couldn't) swing a cat in there without hitting a (lawyer/actress/brain-dead politician/fill-in-the-blank).

Minstrel Boy: that IS a good one. I used to have a section sergeant that had two expressions for people he was upset with:

"Y'all as useless as a tampon in a typhoon"

and

"To think that they shot Martin Luther King (or JFK, or whoever he was feeling like citing) and left your useless, oxygen-thieven' ass livin'..."

Vibrant Pilgrim said...

Too lazy to scratch.
She/he would be calm if her ass was on fire. (the one I want with me in the trenches)
Like herding turtles
And the Central Texas version of a day with no bread:
Slower than the seven year itch.
I'm always amazed when something I say amuses anyone. We all have our personal idioms, don't we?

Vibrant Pilgrim said...

Too lazy to scratch.
She/he would be calm if her ass was on fire. (the one I want with me in the trenches)
Like herding turtles
And the Central Texas version of a day with no bread:
Slower than the seven year itch.
I'm always amazed when something I say amuses anyone. We all have our personal idioms, don't we?

Publius said...

"Even a blind pig gets an acorn every once in a while" (commonly heard on the golf course when someone such as yours truly gets a birdie).

"All hat and no cattle" (Texas saying, and quite relevant these days).

"The check's in the mail" (often accompanied by, "and your government's here to help" and some more colorful phrases).

"The Devil made me do it" (all-purpose response to wife-creature).

Re: the anon post at 9:42 AM: FDChief sane? Normal? Tell me it's not so.

Publius said...

Forgot these all-purpose climatological observations:

"Colder than a well-digger's ass."

"Hotter than the hinges of hell."

FDChief said...

VP: atually, I LOVE the "too lazy to scratch" one. Great image.

Publius: I am sadly familiar with the same Devil.

I always assumed that a well digger was the old-time equivalent of a well DRILLER. And those guys asses get cold, let me say from having logged a LOT of wells...

Oh - here's two I picked up in the service that have always served me well when the going got tough:

"(Fill in the blank) is as fucked up as a football bat"

and sorta along the same lines:

"(Fill in organization or event) is as disorganized as twelve monkeys fucking a football".