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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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Belief: Children's Song

STEP ON A CRACK (AS IN A SIDEWALK) (SIC) BREAK YOUR MOTHER'S BACK.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs and Keywords added by TRD

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; NASHVILLE ; ASSUMED

Keyword(s): Back ; BELIEF ; CHILDHOOD ; CHILDREN ; Crack ; GAME ; MOTHER ; RHYME ; SONG ; Spine ; SUPERSTITION ; VERSE

James Callow Keyword(s): ELLIPSIS

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Lyrical Verse
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Belief C860.533
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Belief Belief
BELIEF -- Curse

Date learned: 06-00-1972

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Belief: Children's Song

If you step on a crack you'll break your mother's back.

Submitter comment:

Stepping on Cracks Superstition

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

James Callow comment:

Original BN [P880] crossed out and replaced with C860.740

Where learned: CHILDHOOD ; MICHIGAN ; DETROIT ; Myself

Keyword(s): Back ; BELIEF ; CHILDHOOD ; CHILDREN ; Crack ; GAME ; Line ; MOTHER ; RHYME ; SONG ; Spine ; SUPERSTITION ; VERSE

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Belief Belief

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Retort

Question - Who was your servant last year?

Answer - No one...that's why I have you!

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

James Callow comment:

The words [Smart Aleck Saying] are crossed out from the top of the card.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): COMEBACK ; RETORT ; Servant ; Wisecrack

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Formula

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Retort

"Please help me out..."

"Sure, Which way did you come in?"

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

James Callow comment:

The words [Smart Aleck Saying] are crossed out on the top of the submission card.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): COMEBACK ; RETORT ; SARCASM ; Wisecrack

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Formula

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Retort

"You couldn't hit the broad side of a barn."

Submitter comment:

We would say this to someone who had poor aim.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): COMEBACK ; INSULT ; RETORT ; SARCASM ; Wisecrack

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Formula

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Retort

Oh, you have more troubles (or anything could be substituted for troubles...excuses, pains, etc.) than Carter has Little Liver Pills.

Submitter comment:

This informant would use this quip when belittling the complaints of her children.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): COMEBACK ; INSULT ; RETORT ; SARCASM ; Wisecrack

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Formula

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Retort

God paid you back...

Submitter comment:

If, when you were teasing her, and you would hurt yourself, the informant would say this.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

James Callow comment:

Callow has written some clarifying remarks on the card for grammatical purposes. example: Teasing Who? The Informant?

Keyword(s): COMEBACK ; INSULT ; RETORT ; SARCASM ; Wisecrack

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Formula

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Retort

Holy Toledo!

Submitter comment:

A short statement said when amazed.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

James Callow comment:

Original BN [S586] crossed out. Replaced with current classification

Keyword(s): COMEBACK ; INSULT ; RETORT ; SARCASM ; Toledo ; Wisecrack

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Formula

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Retort

Two retorts to the "Age Before Beauty" line are:

"Only in the dictionary" or,

"But Beauty was a HORSE."

Submitter comment:

These are lines frequently used in grade school.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

James Callow comment:

The word Smart is crossed out from the title.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): AGE ; BEAUTY ; COMEBACK ; Dictionary ; HORSE ; INSULT ; RETORT ; SARCASM ; Wisecrack

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Formula

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Retort

Off the Cob.

Submitter comment:

A remark made after someone has expressed an inept idea or an idea lacking in social sophistication.

Informant heard this in Detroit, Michigan.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; FERNDALE

Keyword(s): Cob ; COMEBACK ; INSULT ; RETORT ; SARCASM ; Wisecrack

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Formula

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Retort

Question: How are you?

Retort: Still Alive.

Submitter comment:

I've heard it used around UofD.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

Keyword(s): Alive ; COMEBACK ; INSULT ; Response ; RETORT ; SARCASM ; Wisecrack

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Formula

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Retort

"Doubting Thomas"

When someone tells you something which is hard to believe, a common reply is:

"I'm from Missouri - seeing is believing."

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

James Callow comment:

Original BN [C870.570] crossed out. Replaced with current classification.

Where learned: ILLINOIS ; CHICAGO

Keyword(s): COMEBACK ; INSULT ; Missouri ; RETORT ; SARCASM ; Wisecrack

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Formula

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Retort

Political Speech:

"I'm from Missouri; You've got to show me."

...Missouri Congressman.

Submitter comment:

Denotes - One not easily Deceived.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

James Callow comment:

Original BN [S554] crossed out. Replaced wtih current classification.

The question [Not a retort??] is written across the top of the card.

Keyword(s): COMEBACK ; HUMOR ; Missouri ; RETORT ; SARCASM ; Wisecrack

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Formula

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Retort

To answer a "smart" question or statement:

At least I was born, not hatched.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

Keyword(s): BIRTH ; Born ; COMEBACK ; Egg ; Hatched ; INSULT ; RETORT ; SARCASM ; Wisecrack

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Formula

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Retort

Constantinople:

Constantinople is a very long word, and I bet you can't spell it.

Retort: I.  T. 

Submitter comment:

Informant heard it in 3rd or 4th grade.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

James Callow comment:

Original BN [W400] crossed out. Replaced wtih current classification.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; RICHMOND

Keyword(s): COMEBACK ; Constantinople ; INSULT ; RETORT ; SARCASM ; Spell ; SPELLING ; Wisecrack

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Formula

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Retort

When someone called me a name when I was younger, I used to answer them with: "Don't call me your middle name."

Submitter comment:

This is something all the kids (on my block) used to say.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): COMEBACK ; INSULT ; NAME ; RETORT ; SARCASM ; Wisecrack

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Formula

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Retort

Daily Life Custom:

When a person sneezes, it is customary to say "Gesundheit!"

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

James Callow comment:

Original BN [F530] crossed out. Replaced with current classification.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; SAINT CLAIR SHORES

Keyword(s): BLESSING ; COMEBACK ; RETORT ; SNEEZE ; Wisecrack

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Formula

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Retort

When someone says "Well!" answer him by saying "That's a mighty deep subject for such a shallow mind."

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

Keyword(s): COMEBACK ; Deep ; INSULT ; RETORT ; SARCASM ; Well ; Wisecrack

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Formula

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Retort

"A man running by for his life would never notice it."

Submitter comment:

Granny Clisdale used to admonish someone worrying over inicental details with this retort.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ROYAL OAK

Keyword(s): COMEBACK ; DEATH ; incidental ; INSULT ; LIFE ; Notice ; RETORT ; RUNNING ; SARCASM ; Wisecrack

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Formula

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Retort

Q: So what?

Retort: Buttons on eggs, zippers on bananas.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

Keyword(s): Bananas ; BUTTONS ; COMEBACK ; Eggs ; RETORT ; SARCASM ; Sew ; SEWING ; Wisecrack ; Zippers

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Formula

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