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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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Retort

Age before beauty.

Beauty was a horse.

Submitter comment:

Heard during college days

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

Where learned: OHIO

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

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Formula

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Retort

What do you wnat? Eggs in your beer?

Submitter comment:

I heard this repeatedly when playing baseball in childhood days.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

James Callow comment:

Something besides this must come first?

Usually in Singular?

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

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Formula

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Retort

Smart Aleck Saying:

Deaf in one ear, and can't hear in the other.

Data entry tech comment:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:American_folklorists

Keyword(s): COMEBACK ; DEAF ; Ear ; Hearing ; INSULT ; RETORT ; SARCASM ; Wisecrack

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Formula

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Retort

A) "You dance very well."

B) "I wish I could say the same about you."

A) "Oh, you could, if you were as big a fibber as I am!"

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

James Callow comment:

Retort? Double A! A gives the punch line, not B.

The original Title [Smart Aleck Saying] has been crossed out. Replaced with current classification.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): COMEBACK ; DANCE ; Fibber ; INSULT ; Liar ; RETORT ; SARCASM ; Wisecrack

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Formula

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The Blacksmiths Son

Long ago in a small village there lived a blacksmith. Now although blacksmiths were poor, they were, nevertheless, held in respect because they were the strongest men in the village.

People used to go to the blacksmith for advice and help. This particular balcksmithhad one son, and the blacksmith wanted his son to be a blacksmith also. But the son was lazy and did not like to work. One day he told his father: "father, I have a very brilliant idea. I'm going to learn your trade in an easy way. Here's my plan: Put me in a large basket above yuor workshop and I will watch everything you do. And by watching you constantly, I will earn your trade."

So the son was put in the basket and watched his father fort several months. Then the son said to his father: "Father, I think I'm ready." And so the father gave the son tools, and a large piece of iron, and said to his son: "now son, what are you going to make?"

"Father," the son said, "I think I'll make a hammer."

"Son," the father said, "If you can make a hammer, you will be a better blacksmith than I, because it took me five years to learn how to make a hammer." And the son worked feverishly for several days but to no avail. So the son went to his father and said: "Father, I think I'll make a horseshoe instead."

The father said; "Son, if you can make a horseshoe, you will be a better blacksmith than I, because it took me three years to learn how to make a horseshoe." The son again went out, pounding and forming, but to no avail. He said to the fahter: "Father, I think I will make a nail instead of a horseshoe."

The fahter said: "Son, if you can make a nail, you will be a better blacksmith than I, because it took me two years to learn how to make a nail." The son worked for several hours, but to no avail. He said to his father: "Father, I will make something you never made. I will make a needle."

"Son," said the father, "if you make a needle, you will be a better blacksmith than I, for no smith has made a needle. " And so, the son worked and worked until finally there was nothing left. but he did not give up. He said: "Father, I will make something with no iron at all."

"Son, if you can make something without iron, it will indeed make you a great blacksmith," the father replied.

The son said: "Come watch, Father." He took a pair of tongs and heated them red hot, and suddenly plunged them into a barrel of water, and said: "Father, I did it. I made a pss."

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

James Callow comment:

Original Boggs Number [ B665] crossed out and B646 is written next to it.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ALLEN PARK

Keyword(s): Blacksmith ; FAMILY ; Father ; Hammer ; HORSESHOE ; HUMOR ; IRON ; Learn ; Lesson ; Needle ; Outsmart ; Skill ; Son ; TRADE ; Wise ; Wisecrack

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Romantic Realistic

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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

View just this record

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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