Never do I feel more Southern than when I say something along the lines of “He was drunk as Cooter Brown” and someone responds with 1. A confused look or 2. “Who is Cooter Brown?”
Well, hell, I don’t know who Cooter Brown is. My guess would be someone who was frequently inebriated or “three sheets to the wind,” as we say.
As a Mississippi girl, I’ve been using colorful expressions since I was knee high to a grasshopper. This ain’t my first rodeo. I didn’t just fall off a turnip truck.
While I have sometimes been accused of acting too big for my britches, y’all best not say I’ve gotten above my raisings. Whoever thinks that doesn’t know shit from shinola. (No, I don’t actually know what shinola is, but if the two items were displayed before me, I’m sure I could make an educated guess.)
I hear y’all saying, “You kiss your mama with that mouth?”
All right then, moving on.
Some Southern expressions might lead one to believe that we are a violent people. For example: “I’ll knock you into the middle of next week,” “I’ll snatch you baldheaded,” or “I’ll slap you nekkid and hide your clothes.” The horror!!
Even some of our compliments sound threatening, such as when we encounter something “so good it makes you want to slap your mama.” Why?? Can’t we all just get along?
Southerners have countless expressions to describe a person’s shortcomings: “Useless as tits on a bull,” “Dumb as a box of rocks,” and “Ugly as homemade sin (I’m not sure how it compares to the store-bought kind).”
My favorite is used to describe someone (usually female) who’s not exactly aging gracefully: “Rode hard and put away wet.”
If the array of casseroles and cakes at the family reunion makes you happier than a pig in slop, don’t go overboard or you’re liable to end up full as a tick on a hound dog. Oh, I know you want just one more slice of red velvet cake, but people in hell want ice water. (Unless they’re Southerners; they want sweet tea.)
When it’s hotter than blue blazes, let’s hope you have air conditioning (“Good lord willing and the creek don’t rise”) or you’ll be sweating like a whore in church.
All right, y’all, it’s audience participation time. What are your favorite expressions?
Don’t just sit there like a bump on a log! It’s on like a chicken bone!!
Photo credits: Shirts featuring sassy Southern sayings available from Sweeteashirts.com.
Cooter Brown’s sign by erjkprunczyk, Flickr Creative Commons
“Butter my butt” postcard and other fabulous letterpress items available at YeeHaw’s Etsy store.