The Question Box & Other Childhood Folkisms #Humor #Families

Now, pipe down as we head down the nostalgic road to yesteryear.  I wouldn’t want to have to put the quietus on you.  Don’t make me turn this car around!  This is a list of parental, grandparental words, phrases, admonitions from childhood–all my selective memory would allow.  There are many more.  I’ve included a link to a similar themed post from another blog I enjoyed reading.

  1. Looking glass:  Mirror
  2. Window light: Window
  3. Hard roads:  Paved highways
  4. Molygrumps:  Being extra grumpy or crabby
  5. Chum, School chum:  Friend or buddy
  6. Footfeed:  Automobile accelerator pedal
  7. Isinglass:  Fireproof, translucent, pot-bellied stove windows
  8. Clinkers:  Cinders, left from burning coal or wood (not to be confused with clunkers)
  9. Coal oil:  Kerosene for heating or lighting
  10. Fagged out:  Tired, exhausted (no slur intended)
  11. Eyes bigger than stomach:  Took more than could eat
  12. Make better door than window:  Penalty for blocking TV
  13. Buying, selling:  Buy for what you’re worth, sell for what you think you’re worth
  14. Flies:  A compliment, You are with it–a sharp dresser:  There are no flies on you.
  15. Fly catching:  Catch more with honey than vinegar
  16. Slop bucket:  Food waste collected to feed hogs
  17. Frogs:  Fine as frog hair.  Valuable, like silk, or fine powder
  18. Toads:  Blinking like toad in hailstorm–insincere or lying
  19. Tickled pink:  Pleased, happy, also “pleased as punch”
  20. Much obliged:  Thankful, obligated for kindness shown
  21. Lolligagging:  Slacking off, laziness, also “goldbricking, dilly-dallying” (see # 22)
  22. Shenanigans:  Mischief, product of idle minds (see # 21)
  23. Three-holer:  Outhouse, privy, capacity for three
  24. Chickens:  Disorganized, like chickens with heads cut off
  25. Going to bed with the chickens:  Retiring at sundown
  26. Spring chicken:  Too old, You’re no spring chicken.
  27. Barns:  Too little, too late–barn door closed after horse was gone
  28. Utility conservation:  Close the door–Were you born in a barn?
  29. Cow patties, pies:  Cow manure, disorganized–running around, falling into
  30. Cow pies & luck:  He could fall into a cow pie, come out smelling like a rose.
  31. Cow’s tail:  Being as slow as the last part of a cow to pass by
  32. Clod hopper(s):  Rube, simpleton, high-top work shoes, farmers favored
  33. Fiddlesticks:  Expression of disdain–also, fine as fiddle dust
  34. Pipe down:  Be quiet–you’re too noisy (see # 35).
  35. Quietus:  Quietness enforced, “Our little darlings didn’t want to go to bed–I put the quietus on that.” In this case, interchangeable with “kibosh.” (see # 34)
  36. Pitchers & ears:  Busybody, eavesdropper–Little pitchers had big ears.
  37. The Question Box:  Answer given in response to too many questions, “It’s a question box–to make you ask questions.”  Then, what is it?  “It’s a question box.”  Anyway–you’ve got the idea.
  38. Crying:  Undesirable behavior–Stop, or I’ll give you something to cry about.
  39. Laughing & bedtime:  Go to bed laughing, you’ll wake up crying.  Was the opposite also true?
  40. Blessed silence:  Children should be seen and not heard.
  41. Paraphrased Biblical reference:  After misbehavior–This is my beloved son in whom I am not so well pleased.


Picky eaters and picky eating:  “Stop it–you’re scratching like a cat in a litter box.”

Body language and insincerity:  “He was blinking like a toad in a hailstorm–couldn’t get the lies out fast enough.”

King of the castle:  “Yes, I’m king of the castle.  I keep telling myself I’m having fun.  Don’t worry, there are plenty of things to bring me back to earth.  You kids and your mom–for example.”

Watching the “People’s Choice” and other award shows:  “I’m not watching that parade of buffoons and Botox babies.”

Acquired Tastes:  “Coffee, oysters, bleu cheese, Larry King, late-night TV, Mickey Rooney and Judy  Garland”

On body image:  “If you don’t like what you see in the mirror.  Stop looking at yourself so much.”

Oldies radio:  “Maybe I’m stuck in a rut, but I like it.  It’s the same hits you heard a few minutes ago all day long.”

Cheap imitations:  “They’re like hits by the “Soundalikes”–appealing, but not the real thing.  Like The Beatles and The Monkees, The Three Stooges and The Bowery Boys, Superman and Batman.”

Living in the past:  “It’s OK to think about it–because you are your past.  Why relive the past–that you’ll never get back again?”

Climbing the corporate ladder:  “Don’t worry about it.  Everybody’s not going to make it to the top.  It’s not a ladder at all–it’s a pyramid.  Most people are at the bottom holding it up.”

Friendship:  False friends like you because you’re popular.  False friends will hate you because you don’t have the right pedigree.  True friends like you for who you are.

Gas Wars:  “Why do they call them that?  It sounds like frat house pranks after all-night burrito buffets.  Or like your mom’s cabbage cooking.”

On being in debt:  “Don’t get into debt if you don’t have to.  If you do have debts–pay them off as soon as possible.  Once in debt–you’re always in debt.”

Taking the last cookie:  “Stop arguing with your brother about who gets the last cookie.  It doesn’t matter.  Sometimes toast is just toast.”

About time:  “There’s never a good time–to do things you don’t like to do.  Like going to a friend’s funeral.  There’s never enough time–period.  Take time to care about everything.   Even, doing homework and taking out the trash.”

Halloween fun houses:  “It’s only some grown men running around in their long underwear with chain saws.  Old Man Johnson, from across the street, mowing the yard in his underwear–that would be much scarier.”



Where have “Aw Shucks”
“Fiddlesticks,” “Dad Gum Its,”
“Dag Nab Its,” “Ding-Dang Its,”
“Doggone Its,” “Cockamamies”
And, “Oh, Fudges” gone?

“For the Love of Pete,”
They could be anywhere
“Crying Out Loud in a Bucket”
Playing “Horse Hockey”
Pulling “Shenanigans”
With other “Hooligans”

“Catching flies with honey
Instead of vinegar”
“Tending watched pots
That never boiled”
“Chasing rolling stones
That gathered no moss”

“Gott im Himmel”
“Ach du Lieber Gott”
“Criminetly”, or “For Criminy Sakes”
When were the “Lolligaggers”
And “Fussbudgets,” going to stop
Their “Tomfoolery” and “Clippity-Clap?”

“Dink Fods,” “Rat Finks,”
And “Dinkledorfs” hung out
With other “Goofuses”
“Doofuses, “Dip Sticks”
“Lazy Bones,” and “Bone Heads”

Watched evening news
With “Hardly Reasonable”
And “Wally Crankcase”
Sported scented “Stink Pretties”
Old Spice, Aqua Velva, and Hai Karate

“Jumping Jiminies,” “Jehosaphats”
Were “Slower Than Smoke”
“Nuttier than Fruitcakes”
But, they didn’t let
Any of it, go to their heads.
Except–when they had
The “Molygrumps” and
Couldn’t get their
“Lard Butts” out of bed