Folk Speech/Metaphor

“We’re gonna smack patties.”

The informant stated that they learned the above folk metaphor from a friend, approximately two years ago in middle school. The metaphor is sometimes used prior to the beginning of any form of competition, such as a game, with another group, and usually would not be said outside of this context, and even here, the informant claims, it is not used very often. According to the informant, the metaphor is “just a silly, dumb statement” which not many people say—the only two that he knows of being himself and a close friend.

With the exception of this informant, I do not believe I have ever heard the above folk metaphor used in any context. Nevertheless, I have two possible explanations for why it may be used, especially in the context of (group) competition. The first is that the phrase may refer to the literal smacking of meat patties on a grill by a cook with a spatula. Accordingly, this form of folk speech could be used before the onset of group competition as a sort of rallying cry, suggesting that group’s impending domination over the other (the patties), as in the case of patties being easily smacked all around a grill by the spatula of a cook. Such a cooking, and even more specifically, grilling metaphor might not seem so out of place in the context of sport if we, for instance, consider the common use of the term “gridiron”  in reference to the field used in American football, or to the sport itself (as in “Gridiron Football”).

Another, perhaps more remote, possibility is that this folk metaphor connotes domination in competition by referring to punitive measures (“smacking”) taken against a group inferior in some respect (the “patties”). Interestingly enough, the word “patty” sounds familiar to “paddy,” or a derogatory slang term for an Irishman, though no connection is necessarily suggested here. On either interpretation of the metaphor, it is clear that the phrase could serve, especially in the context of group competition, to portend a future victory.