Saturday, April 14, 2012

An "Arm and a Leg" No More?

For the last year or so I have been using a certain bit of trivia that I heard on the radio to entertain people at the Creation Museum as I draw their caricatures. The trivia is that back in the days before cameras, if you wanted a picture of yourself or your family made, you hired a portrait artist to produce a painting. Supposedly the more the artist had to paint, the more it would cost. So to save money the people being painted would pose to hide arms and legs to give the artist less to paint, thereby saving themselves from paying "an arm and a leg" for the painting.

It sounded plausible enough to me and produced lots of laughs as I shared it with those I was drawing, until I looked it up online. Apparently, that take on the well-known phrase is not quite true. Bummer. See here. But that hasn't stopped me from sharing that false bit of trivia with my caricature customers. Now I just tell them that the people being painted posing to hide arms and legs explanation isn't true, and they still laugh anyway. So all is not lost.

Ironically, while researching the "an arm and a leg" phrase, I came across a joke that involves Adam, Eve and God in Eden as well as the phrase, "an arm and a leg". Will I be sharing this joke on Saturdays at the Creation Museum? In a word, no. But, I'll share it here:

Adam told God that he was lonely, so God said, "I will create a perfect companion for you who will always look after you, do all the house work, cook all the food, carry your children, look after you when you are sick, love and cherish you always. When you have an argument your companion will always be the first to say sorry because you were right."
That sounds too good to be true" said Adam. "How much will this cost me?"
And God said , "an arm and a leg." 
So Adam said, "what can I get for a rib?"

And the rest is History.