They think these “radio-phrases” have magic powers
Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 8/31/13
And so this week has been bookended by strips demonstrating the confusing effect that Hootin’ Holler’s poverty and isolation have on the very language its inhabitants speak. Cliches and turns of phrase filter in from the outside world, but are based on things that most of us take for granted and yet are complete mysteries to Snuffy and his kin. And so, just as the old saying “hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk” is a confusing word-jumble to people who travel by foot on dirt paths through the woods and fields and have never seen a sidewalk, so too is the phrase “fresh as a mountain stream” meaningless to people who have no experience with indoor plumbing and who get all their water from mountain streams as a matter of course. (The stream also doubles as the town sewer, so you can see why Snuffy seems particularly puzzled by the use of “fresh” in this context.)
I’m preeeeety sure Momma has been a 43-year-long exercise in establishing that our mothers are responsible for all our emotional problems, actually.