‘Now you’re cookin’ with gas’ or so we say

I had back-and-forth e-mails the other day with someone attempting to send me something for the community page in the newspaper.

The document being sent was coming up blank, I explained to the well-meaning, probably frustrated sender several times.

Finally, the relayed message was successful in getting through to me in another format.

Mission accomplished! Oh, how the small victories of life can often be the ones most celebrated, especially when it comes to computers doing what they’re supposed to do.

I responded that I had received the information at last, ending my message with an encouraging “Now you’re cookin’ with gas!”

And then it occurred to me — I wonder why I used that expression, one I’m inclined to write or say with some frequency when the occasion warrants, come to think of it.

The abbreviated version — “Now you’re cookin’!” — is one of those sayings I use, too, and either way the interpretation seems the same. You did it. You’re gettin’ it now. It all makes sense.

I did a Google of “Now you’re cooking with gas,” and the first thing that popped up (and everything’s true on the Internet, right?) is that the saying originated in the mid- to late 1930s as an advertising slogan. It was the natural gas industry’s effort to convince people to use gas instead of electricity to power their kitchen stoves.

Well, I would be hard-pressed to argue where something came from when it arrived a couple of decades before I did.

All I know is I’m not much for cooking with gas or electricity so that slogan used modern day wouldn’t do much for converting or influencing me one way or the other.

I’m guessing somewhere along the line in my family, though, I would have heard that saying from my parents or other relatives and just naturally came to use it myself in a hereditary kind of way.

Things do tend to stick in my head, a place where I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t want to crawl inside and hang around for very long.

Thoughts of one saying led to thoughts of others, go figure, including how my dad would often say to me when I did something I was supposed to or better still, without being asked, “You’re gooder’n ary angel, Janice.” That always made me feel good.

And who am I to argue? (My halo could use an adjustment to a larger size probably.)

I was asking a family friend about a saying I’d heard his mother use in a dry-sense-of-humor kind of way. If someone’s being a big baby and whining about something, it seems a fitting commentary under such circumstances. She’d say, “You’ll live to suffer more.”

Translation — get over your bad self!

My family friend suspected his grandmother had always used the phrase and so his mother just naturally followed suit.

Running parallel to that is an expression another family friend often used that seemed very compassionate and sympathetic on the surface, at least until the words sunk in a little and you thought about it a second or two.

It, too, was a good response to the whiners in your midst. He’d say, “You’ll feel better when it quits hurting.”

No kidding. And by then you’ll be cookin’ with gas, baby!


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