Posted by Victoria S Dennis on September 03, 2005
In Reply to: Stick pins in my eyes posted by Smokey Stover on September 03, 2005
: : : : : I am curious to find the origin of the phrase "I would rather stick pins in my eyes".
: : : : It might be just a made-up phrase with no particular antecedent, or it might mean something like, "I would rather stick pins in my eyes, as though I were a voodoo doll, than accede to your demand." I believe that you might hope that sticking pins in the eyes of a voodoo doll representing some particular person would blind that person. Or I'm wrong. SS
: : : There are quite a few phrases going the rounds in which the speaker describes some extreme form of self-mutilation that s/he would rather perform: e.g. "I'd rather chew my own leg off", or "I'd sooner pull out my own intestines and use them for sausage casings". I suspect that "I'd rather stick pins in my eyes" may just be another variant on this hyperbole. (I just love to get the chance to say "hyperbole", it's one of my favourite words.) VSD
: : Then there's the childhood oath: "Cross my heart and hope to die, stick a needle in my eye"
: I always learn so much on this site. As often as I have heard "Cross my heart and hope to die," I never got to hear the second clause, "stick a needle in my eye." And I, too, like the word hyperbole, and all its relatives except "hype," which I very actively dislike. SS
In my school playground (in London) we said: "Cross my heart and hope to die, Spit on my boots and never tell a lie." (VSD)