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Combative non-sequitur retorts?
March 22, 2006 9:49 PM   Subscribe

IdiomaticFilter...:

One of the funniest skits on Chappelle Show is the OJ Simpson jury selection, where Dave says to the prosecutor that "Some people say that cucumbers taste better pickled". I found it hilarious, and I want to know more quaint, idiomatic retorts in that spirit.
posted by evariste to Society & Culture (47 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
When someone says "So?", you say "Sew buttons on your Sunday underwear."

You say "Knock knock." When the other person says "Who's there?" you say "Chicken butt." Then you cackle hysterically.

My grandmother was much given to saying, "Life is real and life is earnest. Poor Earnest."

Is that the kind of thing you're thinking of?
posted by ottereroticist at 10:10 PM on March 22, 2006


Your grandmother's was definitely the kind of thing I'm thinking of, and the "So" one too, to a lesser extent...I'm adding both to my repertoire, thanks.
posted by evariste at 10:12 PM on March 22, 2006


"I'm thirsty"

"I'm Friday, how do you do."

"I'm hungry"

"I'm Sweden, how do you do."
posted by AmbroseChapel at 10:20 PM on March 22, 2006


Jessica Lange as Patsy Cline in Sweet Dreams, after an aggressive suitor tells her what he wants: "Well, people in hell want ice water; that don't mean that they get it."
posted by nicwolff at 10:24 PM on March 22, 2006


"Chicken butt" is the response to "Guess what?" The whole point is the rhyme.

See also: "Guess why?" / "Open fly."
posted by booksandlibretti at 10:29 PM on March 22, 2006


when some one say "well..." as in trying to to tie up a conversation on the phone or in person. You say...

"now thats a deep subject"
posted by Building at 10:41 PM on March 22, 2006


nicwolff-perfect.
posted by evariste at 10:44 PM on March 22, 2006


My mother had a few of those. If you said, "I see.", she'd add "-said the blind man, as he picked up his hammer and saw." Also the "sew buttons on your underpants" thing that ottereroticist mentioned.
posted by maryh at 10:46 PM on March 22, 2006


My father used to say this at night:

"To bed, to bed," said Sleepyhead.
"Let's stay awhile," said Slow.
"Let's put on the pot," said Greedy Gut, "and sup before we go."
posted by Malor at 10:58 PM on March 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


Hmm, I'm not sure that was exactly what you were looking for, though.
posted by Malor at 10:59 PM on March 22, 2006


If someone says " I am so pissed off!" you reply, "It's better to be pissed off than pissed on!"
posted by defreckled at 11:15 PM on March 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


My father's favorite, his standard response to "But I want...", was "And I wanna be an astronaut."

(And while the thread title helps a bit, I think you may want to clarify exactly what you're looking for.)
posted by occhiblu at 11:16 PM on March 22, 2006


"If we had..." leads to "If my grandmother had wheels, she'd be a trolley" as a reply.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:18 PM on March 22, 2006


occhiblu-

(And while the thread title helps a bit, I think you may want to clarify exactly what you're looking for.)

Your point is well taken. I have a hard time articulating what it is, exactly, but "I know it when I see it". A few of the replies are pretty much in the neighborhood (including yours).
posted by evariste at 11:21 PM on March 22, 2006


Responses to "If ..." or "But ..."

(traditional)
"If 'ifs' and 'buts' were candies and nuts, we'd all have a Merry Christmas"

(non-traditional)
"If pigs had wings, a lot more people would carry umbrellas."
posted by zanni at 11:52 PM on March 22, 2006


There's a Yiddish response to counterfactual 'if': "Az der bubbe vot gehat baytzim vot zie geven mein zayde." (If my grandmother had balls she'd be my grandfather.) Disclaimer: IANA Yiddish speaker. I read this one years ago, probably in Leo Rosten's The Joys of Yiddish, and have never had the, um, baytzim to use it in public.
posted by eritain at 12:49 AM on March 23, 2006 [1 favorite]


My mum used to respond to our nagging/annoying questions like this:

Me: "Mum! Mum! Muuum!!!"
Her: "Mums arse in a raffle..." [often followed by - now go outside and play]

Me: "Where are you going!"/"Where have you been!"
Her: "Off my head and back to see how far it is..." [often followed by - now go outside and play]
posted by jonesor at 1:56 AM on March 23, 2006


Me: I wish [wish goes here]
Grandma: Wish in one hand and shit in the other. See which one gets filled first.
(Grandma wasn't much for mollycoddling)
posted by klarck at 4:14 AM on March 23, 2006


A. "Hurry Up!"
B. "I'm coming."
A. "So's Christmas!"

Best used before, say, October.
posted by ewagoner at 4:18 AM on March 23, 2006


klarck & I had the same grandmother.

Also: "If...."
If the dog hadn't stopped to shit, he'd have caught the rabbit.
(Amazing how many grandparents apparently swore like dockwallopers.)
posted by unrepentanthippie at 4:30 AM on March 23, 2006


1)You might shove an umbrella up my ass, but I'll be damned if you're going to hoist it.

2)If, if, if...if a bullfrog had wings, he wouldn't bump his ass on the curbstone.

3)Put an egg in your shoe and beat it.

4)If he had a brain, he'd be dangerous.

5)You don't know shit from shinola.

6)She'd be late for own own funeral.

7)Joyce had two speeds, slow and dead stop.

...and so on... :)
posted by bim at 5:06 AM on March 23, 2006


A british version of the one mentioned by eritain:

A: If....
B: If my auntie had bollocks she's by my uncle

Used on The Office, I think
posted by primer_dimer at 5:18 AM on March 23, 2006


When people are complaining about something that involves a lack of some sort, an "I wish [this] was [that] instead" - "Well, it's good to want things." On preview, that's an if/but response too.

Or "Tough darts, farmer."

Or ask them if they know where they can find sympathy. Tell them it's in the dictionary between shit and syphilis.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 5:20 AM on March 23, 2006


Me: I thought blah blah blah
Mother: You know what thought did? Sat on a dustbin and thought he was king.

There was more than one of these, I'll add others if I remember them.
posted by biffa at 5:29 AM on March 23, 2006


Me: Where did you get that?
My dad: The gettin' place
posted by sugarfish at 6:20 AM on March 23, 2006 [2 favorites]


From the grand state of Maine:

'bout as sharp as a sack of wet mice. (Do not pronounce the r in sharp).

A slight twist on the "I want" ones:
Uncle: Do you want x?
Someone: Sure!
Uncle: How's it feel to want?
posted by lampoil at 6:22 AM on March 23, 2006


From the grand state of Maine:

'bout as sharp as a sack of wet mice.


Hey! I've heard Foghorn Leghorn himself say that! You aren't calling Col. Leghorn a... a... a carpetbagger, now, are you, suh?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:53 AM on March 23, 2006


There's a Yiddish response to counterfactual 'if': "Az der bubbe vot gehat baytzim vot zie geven mein zayde." (If my grandmother had balls she'd be my grandfather.) Disclaimer: IANA Yiddish speaker. I read this one years ago, probably in Leo Rosten's The Joys of Yiddish, and have never had the, um, baytzim to use it in public.

My undergrad adviser (Jerry Cohen, Brandeis, FWIW) used to use this one - in large lecture classes no less.
posted by LilBucner at 7:21 AM on March 23, 2006


booksandlibretti, quite right on "chicken butt.

Another "If..." response, also from my grandmother: "Balls, said the Queen; if I had them, I'd be King."
posted by ottereroticist at 7:49 AM on March 23, 2006


Grandfather:Too bad the old man was a chimney-smoking lush and died way too early.

When one says, "you're illiterate" respond with, "But I have parents!"

"I got my hair cut." "Looks like you got all of them cut."

I'll stop for now. Seriously, I think half my conversational output is in the form of these sorts of quips. I know they get old. Probably why I don't have many friends, and those I do also like to play this game.

And I love the Gettin' Place. Do all my shopping there.
posted by Fezboy! at 8:18 AM on March 23, 2006


When I was young and would tell my dad I was going to the bathroom, he'd always say "Mention my name, you'll get a good seat."

When I'd say "Bye-bye," he'd say "Buy bonds!"

And if someone says "Well, I can do XYZ," you say "That and a quarter will get you nowhere!"
posted by ludwig_van at 8:47 AM on March 23, 2006


Me: "Mum! Mum! Muuum!!!"
Her: "Mums arse in a raffle..."


OK, I don't get this one. Is there a British pun I'm missing, or is it pure non sequitur?
posted by languagehat at 9:15 AM on March 23, 2006


"Hey...."

"Hay is for horses, better for cows."
posted by tristeza at 9:17 AM on March 23, 2006


Heard this most of my childhood from my dad and grandfather when I'd complain about not wanting to do a chore:

"Tough titty said the kitty, but the milk's still good."
posted by Pollomacho at 9:18 AM on March 23, 2006


How common is 'She is the Cat's mother'?
posted by biffa at 9:44 AM on March 23, 2006


Tristeza, we had a slightly different version of the "hey" one in our family...

Hey!

Hay is for horses, straw is cheaper, and grass is free.
posted by MsMolly at 10:59 AM on March 23, 2006


Whenever my brothers & I would refer to our Mom as "she" when she was in the room, she'd say, "Who's she, the cat's mother?"

I had a roommate in college, who, when someone would say, "Yeah, but..." he'd say "Yabbut the rabbit." (it was hilarious at the time.)

When someone says "Hey" at work, there's a guy that says (almost sings), "Hay is for horses, and sometimes for cows. Pigs would eat it, but they don't know how."

I also loved "the gettin' place". Must use that one...
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 11:45 AM on March 23, 2006


Ones from my childhood:

Me: (mentions dubious accomplishment)
Mom: Well, mama pin a rose on you.

Me: You have a point.
Dad: Yes, but I try to hide it with my hair.

When Dad's hair was thinning (as opposed to almost gone, as it is these days), if he mentioned he'd gotten his hair cut that day, he'd be answered with a chorus of "Which one?" from my mom, my sister and me.

Me: Guess what's in here. (Offers some small container or box)
Mom: Umm...the Boston Symphony Orchestra?
posted by gillyflower at 2:13 PM on March 23, 2006


A co-worker, in response to an impatient request:

Would you like shit or a sandwich? You can have the shit right now, but the sandwich will take a little while to make.

P.S. gillyflower's quotes are great. :)
posted by mbrubeck at 2:38 PM on March 23, 2006


My dad is full of these kinda things. He's a truck driver so he's picked them up from all over the States. And being from Texas, he loves to say them with his thick twang...

If someone is stuttering to say something to him, he'll say "Spit it out! You're rattling like a two-dollar radio."

One time he said the neighbor kid was "so dumb he couldn't pour piss out of a boot if the instructions were on the bottom".

And if you shake your head "no", he'll mention how it sounds like a "BB in a boxcar".

He and a friend were exchanging barbs one day and my dad said his friend looked like the "north side of a southbound mule".

He's also a huge fan of using "The Gettin' Place".

Oh, and never leave the front door open unless you want to hear "Were you born in a barn, or do you just have a long tail?"
posted by educatedslacker at 6:17 PM on March 23, 2006 [1 favorite]


When I was young and would tell my dad I was going to the bathroom, he'd always say "Mention my name, you'll get a good seat."

That's a good one; I'm definitely using that.

Here's a few snappy retorts I remember from childhood. They all have the virtue of being intensely annoying.

"What's up?"
"The sky."

"Hey, [name]?"
"What?"
"Just checkin'."

"Take it easy."
"I'll take it any way I can."

"What time is it?"
"Two hairs past a freckle."

"See you later!"
"Not if I see you first!"

And no longer seen in the wild...

"Got a match?"
"Yeah. Your face and a horse's ass."
posted by mono blanco at 10:41 PM on March 23, 2006


Oh, and this one used to be my favorite. Of course you only can use it on someone who's tan from the sun.

"Wow, are you tan from the sun?"

"Yes I am."

"Glad to meet you! I'm mono blanco from the Earth!"
posted by mono blanco at 10:47 PM on March 23, 2006


"Hey...."

"Hay is for horses, better for cows."


pigs don't eat it 'cause they don't know how!
posted by lampoil at 6:24 AM on March 24, 2006


(me standing between my dad and the TV):

"You make a better door than a window."

(me making a lame joke with my parents):

"That's funnier than a fart in a phonebooth," or alternately "that's funnier than a rubber crutch."
posted by tristeza at 4:59 PM on March 24, 2006


Hey...
"Hay is for horses, aren't you glad you're a jackass?"

To a chatterbox...
"You're making more noise than a goose with a clatter bone up it's ass."

To a clumsy person...
"You're like a bear cub playing with his pecker."

To an opinionated person...
"That and a dime will get you a cup of coffee."

In a tough situation...
"Man, this is harder than herding cats!"

I wish...
"If wishes were horses we'd all ride."
"Wish in one hand, spit in the other and see which gets filled first."

I'm bored...
"Go play on the freeway and pry up markers."

See you later alligator...
"After a while crocodile."

And don't forget:
"Is the pope catholic?!"
"Does a bear shit in the woods?!"
...when remarking on obvious statements.
posted by deborah at 10:23 PM on March 24, 2006


A cheap, late hit as I mark favorites:

When answering a yes/no question in the affirmative respond with, "is a big bear heavy?"
posted by Fezboy! at 8:06 PM on May 31, 2006


ludwig_van writes "When I was young and would tell my dad I was going to the bathroom, he'd always say 'Mention my name, you'll get a good seat.'"

My father's response was "OK, I'll let you" Works in all TMI action situations.

The one that used to drive me crazy is my parents would chastise us for wearing shoes inside with "only horses wear there shoes inside/to bed"
posted by Mitheral at 12:14 PM on October 31, 2006


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