Sam from St. Paul, Minnesota, says his dad often used the expressions Do you think I just fell off the turnip truck? and I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck, meaning “I’m not naive” or “Do you think I was born yesterday?” Turnips have long been associated with supposedly unsophisticated rustic folk, and the phrase fall off the turnip truck conjures an image of country bumpkins piling into the back of a truck to bring their crop to market in the big city. During his years on The Tonight Show, TV talk-show host Johnny Carson often used this alliterative phrase. There are a lot of variants, including cabbage truck and turnip wagon. This is part of a complete episode.
- Mystery Drawer (episode #1555) 10/12/2020: Amid court-ordered busing in the 1970s, a middle-school teacher tried to distract her nervous students on the first day of class with this strange assignment:... [more]
- Deviled Eggs (episode #1554) 09/14/2020: Some TV commercials launch catchphrases that stick around long after the original ads. The exclamation Good stuff, Maynard! is still a compliment almost 40 years... [more]
- Play It by Ear (episode #1553) 08/31/2020: How does social context shape our perception of language? When hiking the Appalachian Trail, a young woman from Wyoming found that fellow hikers assumed she... [more]
- Moon Palace (episode #1552) 08/17/2020: What happens in a classroom of refugee and immigrant youngsters learning English? Their fresh approach to language can result in remarkable poetry — some of... [more]
- Online Event August 27, 2020: Lemonade, Anyone? 08/04/2020: ... [more]