Rip ‘Em – And Other Paternal Phrases

My Dad and Granddad, like most other Dads, had a plethora of special phrases that he used on us kids while we were growing up.  Here are a few that will hopefully make you smile:

Rip ‘Em
As you left the house in the morning for school, this phrase was meant to encourage you to do your best and get good grades in school. (eg RIP ‘EM today at school!)  If you did well on a particular assignment or project, that might also be a “rip ’em.”  (eg That math test sure was a rip ’em.)  It has to be said loudly with a certain tearing quality in the voice.

No Flies on You
This means, I guess, that you’re not dead.  The basic meaning being:  “Well, you’re no idiot” or  “Can’t get anything past you.”

Slower than Cold Tar
This one’s pretty obvious.  It’s someone who’s really, really slow.

Off Like a Dirty Shirt
Dad would say this one when we were about to leave somewhere in the car.  It also goes with…

__ Minutes ‘Til Blastoff
This is what Dad used to say every Sunday morning to get everyone into the car on time to get to church.  I wonder how often it actually worked…

Keep the Rubber Side Down and the Sunny Side Up
This one has come about more recently.  This is what Dad now says to any of us when we’re about to embark on a road trip.  “Stay safe and happy” is basically what it means.

If you work at it hard, it’ll be easy – and if you work at it easy, it’ll be hard.
An eternal truth… self-explanatory.  Hard work and discipline makes everything easier.

Any others you can think of from your father or mine?

7 thoughts on “Rip ‘Em – And Other Paternal Phrases”

  1. This to shall pass…
    Keep it tight…
    Keep it between the lines…
    If you are down by the river, drop in….
    What’s a mother to do….

  2. For a car trip: ‘We’re off like a turd of hurdles!’ (Re-arrange the first letters…my parents weren’t that twisted!)
    Asking for anything: ‘Save your pennies!’
    But my favorite saying is something I hear over here – ‘They saw you coming’ – as in, they knew you were an easy mark to rip you off, for example, ‘You paid £10 for a taxi? Aw, they saw you coming!’ I love it!

  3. Wow, does Adam know about this list?

    Am I the only one who’s dad used to say “Wickedness never was happiness”? He’s also fond of saying “All hands on deck” when he suspects you of mischief and wants you to fess up. “Transcripts are forever”: This is reserved for one of two occasions. !. if one is slacking off when one should be studying and 2. when one knocks it out of the park on an assignment or in a class, in this case serving as an accolade for securing a solid future. Is it any wonder that I turned out to be a neurotic obsessor about grades/ performance in school? Ah dad… Here’s my personal fave: “HOLY FREAK!” self explanatory. 🙂

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