Why do we say “It’s snowing like a bastard?” What does a bastard have to do with snow? Better question: how does a bastard snow?
Let me count the ways. For my exhaustive research turned up a letter written years ago by an old man to his grandson. In it, the old-timer noted that outside his window raged a fierce blizzard. The letter continues:
“It’s snowing like a bastard I once knew named Bob. He was a guy who, as the Spanish might say ‘doesn’t have two fingers of forehead.’ Of course they might not say that. Maybe they’d say ‘I have an aunt who plays the guitar.’ One can never really predict what the Spanish will say.
“Back to ‘Bob, the bastard.’ One day at Bob’s company everyone worried about an approaching killer snowstorm. They hoped that Bob would close the office early so they could get home before they were trapped without toilet paper or milk.
“But a guy known as ‘Bob, the bastard,’ didn’t earn that name by showing kindness. Or by caring one whit about his employee’s well-being. In fact, Bob had installed a whit detector at the front entrance.
“Most recently he’d warned that anyone bringing a whit to the job-site would be fired from the barrel of a Mark-IV ‘WhitBlaster.’ All completely legal under the state’s SYGABTBA law* (Stand Your Ground and Blow That Bozo Away).
“By the way, ‘Bob, the bastard’ manufactured and sold paint to the government, which apparently didn’t know the way to Home Depot where paint sells for less than $28,245 per gallon. Bob stared down many a Congressional subcommittee by insisting that his paint wasn’t just paint, but special paint.
“To prove it he would point to the word ‘Special’ on a can of his paint and note also that his company was named ‘Bob’s Special Paint.’
“That afternoon, just before the killer snowstorm struck, ‘Bob, the bastard’ put down a minor uprising of employees demanding he close down. He then went out to the factory to monitor a crew whipping up a vat of Bob’s Special White.
“Many of the angry employees followed him. As Bob stood on the catwalk over the vat, a truck pulling a flatbed trailer stopped outside the factory doors. The Mark-IV WhitBlaster had arrived.
“Bob, eager as the bastard he was, thought a test-firing was in order. Then, just as a group of seething employees rushed the ladder to the vat, snow began to fall.
“Reports conflict as to what happened next, but their outcomes do not differ. Somehow Bob ended up in the vat of special white paint. Somehow his special white body was hauled out and stuffed inside the barrel of the Mark-IV. The test firing blew Bob skyward. Tiny white chunks began falling from the clouds.
“Someone pointed to the sky and said ‘Look, it’s snowing Bob the bastard.”
Note: Most famous quotations don’t quite match their original uttering.Take the example of Napoleon who once said “If I were not Napoleon, I would be an impish frog named Gerard.”
That night he asked his secretary to re-read his remarks. The secretary, quite diplomatically, uttered the quote that survives to this day: “If I were not Napoleon, I would be Alexander.”
Napoleon replied “Was Alexander the one who had all the elephants? Or was that Hannibal the cannibal? I always get those two guys mixed up.”
Anyway, the original “Bob the bastard” quote changed a little every time someone repeated it. And that is why today we sometimes exclaim: “It’s snowing like a bastard.” Especially when it’s snowing.
*Known colloquially as the sig-AB-tuh-buh law.
©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2014, all rights reserved.