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Poke in the eye

Posted by R. Berg on April 11, 2001

In Reply to: Poke in the eye with a sharp stick/choke cat with butter posted by D. Pulaski on April 11, 2001

: My grandfather used to use the above phrases. He would say 'It is better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick' of payments or rewards that were very meager. (as in minimum wage is better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. He also used to say that there were more ways to kill a cat than by choking it to death with butter to mean that 1. your solution to this problem is stupid/extreme 2. there are always more than 2 solutions to any problem.
: Does anyone know the origins of these expressions?
: thanks, dpp

Eric Partridge, "A Dictionary of Catch Phrases American and British," mentions ". . . poke in the eye . . ." as an Australian item in a group of similar phrases of which he says most seem to have originated late in the 19th century. This group includes "better than a kick in the a s s with a frozen boot" (Canadian) and "better than a slap across the belly with a wet fish" (US).