Saturday, June 26, 2010
I don’t know Nick the bartender from Adam’s off ox
In my previous post I used the phrase “Adam’s off ox.” For those of you who have never heard that expression before, click here for an interesting explanation by a British blogger named Michael Quinion.
For the record, my mother said “Adam’s off ox” and she was born in Philadelphia. I suppose that explains why I say it; after all, I learned to talk at my mother’s knee. My wife says “Adam’s housecat.” She was also born in Philadelphia, but she moved to North Carolina when she was eleven. I never heard any of the other variations Michael mentions (Adam’s brother, Adam’s foot, Adam’s pet monkey) in my entire life. In the movie It’s a Wonderful Life (1946), Nick the bartender said, “I don’t know you from Adam’s off ox.”
Today’s trivia factoid: Nick the bartender was played by Sheldon Leonard, who in later years produced the television series The Danny Thomas Show (1953 - 1964), The Andy Griffith Show (1960 - 1968), The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961 - 1966), I Spy (1965 - 1968), and some episodes of Gomer Pyle, USMC.
Something else I say is “Braddock’s bull.” My wife says “Blalock’s bull.” We are obviously incompatible.
[Editor's Note. I also say “buck naked” but a lot of people say “butt naked.” Epstein’s Law comes into play here, which I have named for my friend and former colleague, Sanford J. Epstein, a 305-lb. Jew from Burlington, Vermont, and Pompano Beach, Florida, who said, “If there’s a difference that makes no difference, then there is no difference.” He also wore a Kelly green suit every St. Patrick’s Day and changed his name tag to read Sanford J. O’Epstein, but I have chosen to ignore that. -- RWP, 6/27/2010]