In A Pig’s Eye – What does that mean? 1 of 52
|October 18, 2012||Posted by Rebecca under 52 Project, Drollery|
Sue: May you what?
Maitre D’: Kiss your cheek!
Sue: In a pig’s eye!!
Some of you might recognize this adorably confusing scene from the hit 1991 movie Curly Sue. Who could forget that foul mouthed little girl with her doting con man dad played by Jim Belushi? She was cute, she had curly hair and she said things that raised an eyebrow for both her onscreen co-stars and audience alike.
Whenever anyone says, “In a pig’s eye!” in an attempt to convey some sort of benign contemptuous disbelief, I immediately think of Curly Sue, and her scrunched up nose of defiance. Yet, all associations aside, I still wonder, where the hell does that expression come from? I know the meaning it is trying to convey, but without the context…how is that cliche supposed to work?
Here is a working attempt at making sense of this (considering its roots in 19th century vernacular and a complete absence of logic):
Pig eyes are small
small eyes can’t see well
you cannot trust what comes from something that can’t see well
Pigs root in dirt
dirty things are sinful
pigs eyes are untrustworthy because pigs are sinful
Or, perhaps this stuff really got its root in medieval europe, when the grossly intelligent judicial system found the necessity to put farm animals, rodents and even insects on trial before their inevitable execution. You can read more about that here. My favorite is the case of the mosquitoes, which were acquitted due to failure to appear in court.
Now, if “in a pig’s eye” throws you for a loop from time to time, consider this list below of other cliches utilized throughout the years. Certainly some of these must be the result of a very specific event, or else I fear I have lost all faith in humanity.
I trust him as far as I can throw him
Some people can throw other people very far. They must be the more trusting sort.
A closed mouth gathers no feet
Huh? Well, I would hope an open mouth is incapable of this feat as well. I think the word “gather” is the real creeper here.
Greatest thing since sliced bread
Was sliced bread a really great thing? Was the act of slicing for oneself so painful? Now, the greatest thing since the light bulb? I am on board. Penicillin? Totally.
Never pet a burning dog
What? Never touch anything that is burning. Also, why isn’t anyone trying to save that damn dog?
Read the handwriting on the wall
The most trouble I ever got in as a kid was from literally writing on the wall. With the exception of bathroom stalls, I fail to understand how this one came about. I mean, the last handwriting I read on any wall talked about how some guy named John was a cheating jerk.
Well, I’ll be a monkeys uncle
Actually, you would be the monkey’s great ^ 1000’s nephew, but sure, go with this.
Who peed in your cornflakes?
Yeah, that would piss me off. I get the sentiment. Someone obviously had to have done this, more than once, in order to get this in the cliche book.
I guess the more important question here is, why do we use these expressions at all? Why not just say exactly what we want to say? Why couldn’t Curly Sue just tell the Maitre D’ at that fancy restaurant, “No, thank you,” or even, “Ain’t gonna happen.” I can accept that. “In a pig’s eye” almost becomes more offensive because it assumes we can relate, when in fact, no one can relate to it at all. I do, however, totally relate to Curly Sue. Strange men should never be kissing little girls on the cheek.