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Column: They are probably taking pills for their belly aches

Editor’s note: Former longtime Daily Globe Editor Ray Crippen died Dec. 27, 2015. We will continue to publish previously run “Isn’t That Something” columns on Saturdays, until further notice, as a tribute to Crippen and his knowledge of local and regional history. The following column first appeared Oct. 23, 2004.

WORTHINGTON — I used to hear of people with belly aches. They dared not complain or they would be told, “Quit your belly aching.” I think old sourpusses had belly aches. Maybe they got belly aches from eating beefsteak.

People would tell me they had a belly full of this or a belly full of that — “I’ve got a belly full of politicians.”

We heard of people bellying up to tables and of men bellying up to bars. The report is St. Nicholas has a round little belly that shakes when he laughs like a bowl full of jelly. Belly even is in the Bible — people making their bellies their god.

One recent column recalled things we used to hear that we don’t hear much any more. There is more to be said on that subject.

I don’t hear much of bellies anymore, or of sourpusses or beefsteaks.

There used to be many, many old crabs. I don’t hear of old crabs much. I don’t hear much of cry babies. I don’t hear of giggle pusses who giggle all the time.

There used to be many jackasses. I don’t hear much of jackasses any more, or of old bears, old goats, ornery old mules or odd ducks. I don’t get asked about whether something is duckie. “Isn’t that just duckie?”

I get so many things wrong. Perhaps this is because it has been awhile since anyone reminded me, “You got to use the old noodle.” That dumb bunny. He just doesn’t use his head. He’s a knucklehead. He hasn’t got the brains God gave a goose.

Isn’t that the berries?

Just between you and me and the gatepost, I met a salesman — I didn’t know him from a bale of hay — I didn’t know him from Adam’s off ox — who said his wife was homely as a mud fence. I learned he talked about his wife that way because she said her husband couldn’t sell rice to a starving Chinaman. She admired the neighbor. She said the neighbor could sell ice boxes to Eskimos.

No one has told me lately to hold my horses. Maybe that’s because I don’t move fast anymore. I’m not greased lightning.

Miss Ethel Ferguson in the second grade told me one day, “Keep your shirt on.” I didn’t know what she meant. I wondered what difference that could make. I should have said, “T’aint funny McGee.” Or I could have said, “I dood it!”

There. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

I generally don’t hear much of poor folk. I remember when someone told me of a family that was so poor they didn’t have relatives.

People that said things like that weren’t pussyfooting around. They were coming right out with it.

I also generally don’t hear much of the snotty people. There used to be a lot of snotty people. “You big snot.” “You little snot, you.”

Snotty people had high hats. They put on their high hats. Sometimes they gave someone a high hat — when they were on their high horses.

Jeepers creepers.

Do you think old smarty pants is gone? I haven’t heard of old smarty pants lately. Maybe smarty pants told a lie: Liar, liar, pants on fire.

I do hear of pretty girls. There are pretty girls everywhere, more than ever, but I don’t hear of many who are pretty as a picture. I did hear lately of a girl who is sharp as a tack. I suppose she is smart as a whip. Trouble is, she probably is a real chatterbox. You know what I’m talking about? Maybe not. Maybe you’re still wet behind the ears. Well. I could go on and on but I’m sure you don’t want the whole ball of wax. One other thing I haven’t heard for a long time: Eskimo Pies, two for five cents.

I haven’t heard much of hot water bottles. I remember hearing nurses at hospitals telling patients, “Here — I brought you a nice hot water bottle.” I went to a drug store lately. I asked a young lady if the store had hot water bottles. “We have water bottles,” she said. Well, sure. Of course. It is up to me whether it’s a hot water bottle or a cold water bottle. Excuse me. I’ve got to see a man about a horse.

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