Tuesday, April 27, 2010

His corn and his hogs

My father used to say things like, "Them's his corn and his hogs." I would generally just stare at him blankly and go back to watching television. If I thought about it at all, I just assumed he was saying that if your neighbor's hogs had gotten loose in his own corn field then it was basically his problem and not yours. I figured it was his own version of Voltaire's "cultivate your own garden" quote.

To this day, I really don't know if that is what my father really meant when he said "Them's his corn and his hogs." I do catch myself interjecting it into conversations now and then just to enjoy the blank stares and puzzled looks.

But knowing that Google knows everything, I Googled the phrase expecting to get page after page explaining the origins of the idiom. And near as I can figure, the idiom doesn't exist. Which leaves me with this amazing revelation that, in a world where there isn't any original thought, my father had one. Or he was just messing with my mind.

I did discover that there is quite the relationship between hogs and corn. Apparently there was a practice called "hogging off" a field where the farmer would harvest corn by turning pigs loose in a cornfield in the fall. I'm a bit unclear whether this meant the hogs would get fattened up this way or merely eat the corn stalks leaving the ears of corn for the farmer to pick up. I'm betting on the former.

Regardless, this is where my father could have picked up the phrase. Though he never really lived on a farm. His parents did raise chickens though. So I am surprised that he didn't say "them's his corn and his chickens." He never really talked about chickens at all come to think of it.

He did say something about "zapping when he should have zipped" or visa versus. I always assumed that had something to do with sex, but again, a Google search shows that once again my father was the creator of his very own idiom. That's two. And here I struggle to come up with a blog post title that 3 million other people haven't already used.

My father did use the phrase "none of your beeswax" a lot, too. I know he didn't come up with that one. I Googled it and it has been used a great deal. No one really knows what it means, however, other than being a nonsensical way of telling someone to mind their own business. Some sources claimed it was first used in 1925 in the Broadway musical, "No No Nanette." But it doesn't explain why something isn't someone else's "beeswax." I would think "it's none of your earwax" makes more sense.

Anyway, I think I will create my own hybrid idiom based on my father's idioms stirred together with a bit of beeswax. Here goes, "Them's his cornwax and his hogs zapping when they should have zipped." Whew hoo! In a few days, after the Googlebots have searched through my blog, they'll find that gem and I will be the one and only reference anyone will find!

I am so proud.


Alex Pendragon said...

And as off-the-wall as ever.......grin.......

JP/deb said...

i think that's a timIDiom.

Naughti Biscotti said...

"Be wary of any man who keeps a pig farm. They will go through a body that weighs 200 pounds in about eight minutes. Hence the expression, "as greedy as a pig".

Welcome back THE Michael. I'm about as suprised to see ya as ol' Sally here.

R. said...

I believe it's a permutation of:

"He zigged when he should have zagged."

I recall him saying that. Usually it was a comment relating to a quarterback who got sacked behind the line.

Time said...

Deb, I like that! I'm glad I thought of it :)

NB, Remember, never buy a pig in a poke. Or is it never poke a pig? I can never get my idioms straight. So I'll just sally forth.

I imagine more and more I will call on you to be my memory. It's amazing how much time and lack of sleep affects mine.