Hotter'n blue blazes

98° and it's only two o'clock. Just finished cooking out burgers, corn, and skewered veggies. Pretty tasty. Cleaned up inside, then went back out to clean the grill. I picked up the tongs, spatula, and skewers. Yowzah!
What in blue blazes was I thinking?!

So now I'm temporarily detoured from my nap plan by searching for origins of "blue blazes", and also the proper spelling of yowzah, which is not in my big red dictionary.

I knew blue blazes was a Grandma-speak euphemism for Hell, and didn't have much to do with gas flames or water heaters. I'd never considered the expression "blazing a trail", and had long since forgotten about a blaze on a horse's face. My horse-crazed little brother always wanted a horse with a star, not a blaze. And then there's the blast or blare of a trumpet to consider.

I won't reprint the explanation of all this by the Word Detective. You can read it here should you happen to burn your fingers or lose the trail. But, wouldn't "you meaningless alliterative intensifier" be a good euphemistic insult? And, I hope your library hasn't withdrawn all the classic Billy and Blaze books by W. C. Anderson enjoyed by generations of horse-crazed young readers.

© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder

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