Advent Calender 2013 – Dec 8th: Did A Little Billy-Goat Kick You?

08 Did A Little Billy-Goat Kick You

The 2013 Advent Calender: For the 25 days of Christmas, I will be blogging each day about a miscellaneous thing I love. Not necessarily a big thing, not necessarily a small thing and not in any order. 

I love regional phrases and sayings–a bit like weird words, I have books full of them. My partner John is from Bolton, so he has a whole string of them, whereas my vocabulary is pretty clear of any particularly odd phrases or words*

And then this year, I discovered a phrase from my childhood that caused John to look at me in complete confusion. It’s not even a regionalism–I’ve just googled it and can’t find a single other reference anywhere on the internet.

Which means this should be entirely alien to you, dear reader. Which, even better, means you can use this to its full effect.

So, let’s say that someone you know is in a sulk (a young child, or, possibly, a fully-grown partner in their mid-20s). It’s that kind of sulk that’s mostly for show, and the way to resolve the situation is either to appease it, or to ruin the sulk.

How about this tried and tested method. My mum used it on me as a kid, and I’ve recently resurrected it.

Lower yourself to the level of their eyes. Look deeply and seriously into them. Place your fingers just beneath their chin, and tickle gently.

Ask, with all the gravity you can muster:

“Did a little billy-goat kick you?”

Thus far, it has never yet failed to succeed for me.** The genius is that the more its repeated, the harder it becomes to resist. If the recipient ever does fail to crack a smile, then you should quickly kowtow to their mood, as they seriously bloody mean it.

*except for ‘snicket’, meaning cut-through. Apparently not everyone knows this. A few other secondary school phrases that I suppose were regional were ‘cains’ (hurts), ‘boz’ (in trouble) and ‘mardy’ as a noun (“in a mardy” which for us meant a complete eyes-front silent-treatment).

**although with John, I have an adaptation of it which uses the name of our flatmate, with whom John does not often see eye to eye. It goes as such: “Did a little billy-goat (pause) called Tom kick you.”

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