Sunday, May 01, 2005

Callin' The Dog

Texas speech in its most common form is full of humorous metaphors. I find it comforting that there is still a an originality in our language, although homogeneity is fast becoming a statewide affliction. Perhaps the media and our fast and vast means of communication is the culprit of the demise of original thought. I hope Texans manage to hang onto the quaint colloquialism that individualizes us. A couple of examples:

Whenever you have a group of old timers playing dominoes or just passing the time of day, you hear of someone "Callin the Dog", a colorful euphemism for telling a bunch of whoppers. Some folks say the phrase came about when a bunch of men were sittin' around telling lies and one of the men had a hound pup which he'd give to the fella that told the biggest lie. They all took their turn, and the last man in the corner allowed "I ain't never told a lie in my life." With that, the man with the dog up and called the hound pup in and handed him over to the man in the corner. "That's the biggest lie ever told, and you gits the dog." Ever since then, if you start tellin' lies in Texas, you are "Callin' the dog".

Come to think of it, Texans use the word "dog" in a lot of our explanations:

This dog'll hunt - It will work, acceptable
That dog won't hunt - to disagree, unacceptable
An egg-suckin' dog - a low down person
Everybody and their dog - All
Got the tail wagging the dog- got something backwards
If you're gonna run with the big dogs, be prepared to hike your leg in tall grass - be prepared, obviously
Once you cut off a hound dog's tail, you can't sew it back - be sure you got it right
Pick of the litter - the best
Ride the dog - go via Greyhound Bus
Clean as a hound's tooth - extra clean
Like a tick to a dog - clinging
Dog foot card - a card in the suit of Clubs
Barking up the wrong tree - confused
Gone to the dogs - deteriorated - to hell or to seed
A hard dog to keep under the porch - a good person
Wet on the fire and call the dogs - time to leave, ended
Bird dog 'em - follow someone
Tight as a tick on a hound dog - frugal
This old dog is done huntin' - gave up
Runnin' with the big dogs - doing well
If he was a dog, someone would a stole him when he was a pup - a good person
Like a small dog with a big bone - as in grinning
Like a dog with two tails - happy
Had to tie a t-bone around his neck to get the dogs to play with him - a homely person
As a dog on ice - independent
Let a sleeping dog lie - ignore, leave alone
If he's a dog, he'll bark and bite - inevitable
Tall dog in the pack - a leader
When the Devil was a pup - long time ago
As a bulldog on a gunpowder diet - mean
Twitchin' and shakin' like a wet dog - nervous
As hairs on a dog's back - numerous, many
Raining cats and dogs - hard rain
Ran with his tail curled up so tight his hind legs were off the ground - scared, frightened
Sick as a poisoned pup - ill
Slow as a hound dog in August - something/someone very slow
As a young pup to a porcupine - surprised
A shy dog don't get no biscuits - to be very timid
Looks that would scare a dog off a gut wagon - ugly
See a man about a dog - use the restroom
Barking at a knot - wasting time

And now, this ole dog is headed for a dry place under the wagon - Goodnight, little dogies.