Your face is gonna freeze that way


‘With any luck, not quite so literally.’

I just got back from a chilly, wintry walk out here in Amagansett. It was bracing, but not brutal, since almost all of the two feet of snow we got last week has turned into sodden slush. (See my post “S’no Problem” for freezing deets.)

Another snowstorm, another snowy beach walk. This time at dusk

So, no. That’s not a picture of me looking like a human icicle at the top of this post. That’s Her Childness, taken after an evening run in nippy Saskatchewan, where she and her Hub are visiting his Fam. It was a frosty twenty degrees — below zero.

But this post isn’t about literally freezing your face. It’s about sayings you probably heard from your Mom. Real classics like the above frozen warning, given when your face is arranged in a sad frown, petulant pout or angry scowl.

It pains me even to look at this. (Good Lord! What if her face froze that way!)

And remember what your mom said when you picked up, say, a stick out in the yard and started pretending it was a sword? Yup: “Be careful or you’ll poke somebody’s eye out.” Why wasn’t it ever “…crack somebody’s ribs“? Or even “…give somebody a bad bruise“?

Oh, and what would she say if you climbed a tree? You guessed it: “Be careful or you’ll break your neck.” Wouldn’t a fall from a tree be more likely to cause a break in an arm or a leg? Nope. It was always your neck that was gonna get hurt.

Speaking of which, my mom used the all-purpose “Somebody’s gonna get hurt” quite often. This phrase was intoned more than merely said, usually delivered with a world-weary shake of the head.

“Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.” Which isn’t exactly a warning, but gives me a chance to use this extremely cute picture

She has a million of ’em, my mom. “Good night, Nurse” was something she used to say (and still does) when exasperated. And of course there was the ever-popular and ubiquitous “Because I said so, that’s why.” (You can read more about these in “Get in the Back Seat if You Want to Wiggle Your Behind.” Which I’m betting is a saying unique to my personal mother.)

But my mother wasn’t the only person in my life who had some doozies, sayings-wise. My Starter Husband, whom I have written about before, most notably in “My Polio-Shot Marriage,” was a virtuoso of the colorful bon mot.

How hot was it that day? “It was so hot…” Sadly, I don’t recall Starter Man’s colorful phrase for gauging the intensity of heat

I can’t recall what he’d say when it was very hot. But he had a good one for cold that I do remember. He’d bat his big brown eyes and say, “It was colder than a witch’s t*t in a brass brassiere.”

And if he thought someone was, ahem, intellectually challenged, he’d say, “That guy’s brain is so small it rattles around in his head like a BB in a boxcar.”

Hmmm. I’m guessing it wasn’t very cold when this particular photo was taken

I wish I could remember more of those. But forgetting the colorful sayings of one’s ex-husband is not the worst memory lapse I can imagine.

Well. I have a bus (excuse me, “jitney”) to catch. So I’d better “get this show on the road,” to use a not-particularly original phrase.

Oh. If you’re smiling after reading this post? Go ahead — let your face freeze that way.

Amagansett, New York. February 2022




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4 thoughts on “Your face is gonna freeze that way

  1. Debi Feinman

    As someone born cross-eyed, I would crack up when I would hear someone say to a kid “dont cross your eyes, they’re gonna stay that way” LMAO

  2. My sister was visiting recently and let me know the fact that I say “Geez Louise” is so very Midwestern. I also say “Holy Smokes” and much less holy things. But those are good catch-alls. My mom also said “Heavens to Murgatroyd,” which is from some mid-century TV show. But I had to look it up just now and found that the first time the phrase was in print may have been in a 1961 edition of the Akron Beacon Journal out of Ohio–so that makes sense, since that’s close to home.

    • Holy Moly, Becca! I completely forgot “Heavens to Murgatroyd!” Of course my Mom said that too. I love that you remembered this — and that you did your research. It’s such fun knowing where phrases come from xoxo

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