Tag Archives: sarcasm

I Hardly Know Her!


 “(Blank subject)? I hardly know her!”


My informant first heard this joke sometime in High School from friends, and typically uses it within friend groups.

According to my informant, a common way of using this joke would be “to playfully poke at certain things like “healthy relationships? Hardly heard of her” or like “homework” or something.” They tend to make “a playful jab at something that mildly annoys [them] or something [they] wanna make fun of.” However, it’s not always used in a negative light.

When asked if it was a joke done to lighten the mood, even if not a negative context, they replied that said that they do tend to drop it into regular conversations and they said, “I think I do it just because I want to make my friends laugh a little.” An example provided goes as the following: “Say like my friend is talking about like having a crappy relationship and their partner is being a total piece of shit and I’m like “haha, having proper boundaries with your partner? Never heard of her!” there are a few layers to the joke cuz like it’s supposed to be like a sarcastic interpretation of the opposite side of my view. Say like I condone proper established boundaries but the joke itself is poking at people who don’t understand them to the point that they mistake the phrase of the name of a person or something.” 


In essence, this joke appears to be used to cope typically with negative situations and to turn them around into a lighter form. In the example provided, it appears to be a reassuring gesture. A way to connect and to exaggerate the offending person’s ignorance for a situation to the point that they would not even know that “proper boundaries” is not a name, and further justify the friend’s issues with that person. 

This interpretation of the joke is much different from the way that I have seen it be used. Instead of being a slightly sexual joke playing on the way a person would either end a request with something that ends in “er,” sounding similar to “her” (“Poker? I hardly know her!”), this joke is repurposed to support and uplift friends with a familiar format with an underlying amusing tone. 

Money is first. Creativity is second. Safety is third

Text and Context

DO – Money is first, second is art, creativity, whatever, third is safety
Interviewer – Is this something that just you says?
DO – No, no. Safety third is like, grips will say it like all the time. Like carpenters and everything.
MI – Money comes first—you know getting paid, comes first. Being creative comes second. And being safe comes third.
DO – Right. Like the producers come in and will be like yeahyeahyeah! Safe first! Safety first! But then when it comes time, and it’s like no, no. You’re costing me money, get up on that fucking thing and get that done. Right? Uh, the director comes in, and is like, this is my vision! This is what we want to do! But its like, I can’t do that, I’d have to like— “I don’t care! Get it done!” y’know, kinda thing. And AFTER that comes safety. Like, what else, like what is fourth, I don’t know. So it’s be safe, unless it’s costing us money, or impacting our vision. Essentially
DO – So it’s something that people like us say, when we’re feeling like: alright, we’re putting our bodies on the line and not being treated well. We’re like, “Hey safety third!” Because they looove saying safety first. They talk the talk but don’t walk the walk.
Interviewer – So it’s kind of an ironic saying.
DO and MI (at the same time) – Yes!
DO – It is very sarcastic. But it’s also very, very true. The number of times when we’re like, y’know, you’re talking about working like, sixteen hour days. You cannot work sixteen hour days and use a power tool safely. It’s impossible. Like if you’re sleep deprived, you cannot operate heavy machinery, power tools safely. Like you, you’re gonna do stupid stuff. We were talking about it, not so much as a danger type thing, but when you work sixteen hour days you get so—you make stupid decisions, and you do stupid stuff, and you come in the next day and spend the first two, three hours fixing the mistakes that you did at the end of the day before because you were just trying to get stuff done. Y’know? Uhhh, but given that fact—a lot of studies say, like if you’re driving on the road and you feel a little sleepy. What do they say? Pull over and take a nap. You know, like whatever. Because that’s the safe thing to do. But all the time productions go, like, sixteen hour days when it’s costing them money, like why don’t you just rent the sound studio another week or push for— nope, that costs money, we gotta get it done. We have to get it done. Or why don’t we cut this scene? No, no, director wants that scene, or whatever. Get it done.


The informer(s) clearly had strong feelings about this saying, as they spoke extensively on the subject. I collected this saying while the informant(s) were sitting in the break room of their wood shop. We were talking about general wood shop sayings, so it didn’t come up in the context in which the saying would generally be used, such as during construction.
It is interesting that this is a response to another common saying, “safety first,” and would not stand so well without the popularity of “safety first.” It shows a folk group within set construction, while director and producers are the out-group, because the hierarchy creates a binary separation where the people in power (producers and directors) risk the safety of those they employ. The set construction workers are aware of the danger they are sometimes being put in, and understand the bitter irony of their superiors pretending to care, or caring until it interferes with their money and creative vision.

A Swiss Proverb

I don’t remember the context in which my friend told me this proverb but it had something to do with someone being rude to me and her advising me to ignore it and move on rather than take it to heart.  What she told me (translated from French) was:

The train of your insolence is riding along the tracks of my indifference.

In French it goes “Le Train de yes sarcasm’s role sue les rails de mon indifference”

She told when she was growing up in Switzerland her mother told her to tell this to a kid who was bullying her.  Whether it was her indifference or the poetic wording of her phrase that threw him off, she claimed that this worked and he left her alone after that.

The poetic speech of this proverb seems to heighten the message behind it.  The speaker is showing that they are above the person they are speaking too not just because they are not letting their tormenter bother them, but also in the way they speak.

“Ah, another day in paradise!”

This idiom reveals an element of the informant’s workplace culture. The informant divulged that this phrase is commonly said by exasperated co-workers and often accompanied by a sigh. This particular idiom is a sarcastic remark that serves as a reaction to the workplace pressure and the daily grind of listening to bosses’ demands, going to meetings, making presentations, ensuring that assignments are completed before they are due, and placating customers. This idiom is usually expressed by the employees as they walk past each other in the hallways or when one passes by another sitting at his or her cubicle. By sharing this sentiment in an open forum, those who say the idiom create a collective consciousness of the common pressures facing all who work in that environment in a showing of solidarity.