Clyde-ism #8 | Burn Your Bill


Clyde is the name of my mother-in-law.  She is a wonderful lady who happens to have Alzheimer Disease.  She tends to mix things up now in terms of time frames and chronologies, but she is happy, and for that we are grateful.  I am writing this series of Clyde-isms to remember the things I learned from her during the years I have known her.

One of the things a parent always wants to do is make sure a child doesn’t get hurt or injured.  Of course there are times when despite our best effort a child falls or runs in to something and comes away hurt.  It happens. 

But if you have been a parent or grandparent long enough, you’ll know that you can tell a child not to do something because the consequence will be painful.  They don’t always listen, but you need to say it nonetheless.

One the things Clyde used to say to her grandchildren to give them a warning that what they were about to do might have consequences was this:  ”Burn your bill!”  In this case, “Burn your bill!” meant “Watch out! You are going to get hurt!”

This always made me laugh. It sounded so silly at the time.  She would have made the grandkids something to eat that had just come out of the microwave or off the stove.  It might be queso that was genuinely hot enough to burn.

Before one of the kids would take a bite, Clyde would say: “Burn your bill!”

And the kids wouldn’t take a bite til they blew on the queso until it had cooled off enough.

The fun thing about Clyde’s sayings?  They were always grounded in reality.  The truth is people are alot like children.  We need to hear warnings from time to time.  We need to remember that not everything we do is good for us, or not without some type of danger.

We need to be mindful that lots of things can burn our bills.


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by Thad on May 3, 2012 · 10 comments

in Clyde-isms

  • Andrew @ 101 Centavos

    Good that you’re doing this now. My own grandmother was full of proverbs and sayings, that I wish I’d preserved better.

    • Thad

      I wish I had done something like this with my grandparents and parents.

  • John @ Married (with Debt)

    It can also mean take a closer look before jumping in, lest you get your mouth burned. Control your impulses!

    • Thad

      John, that’s a perfect way to look at that.

  • TB at BlueCollarWorkman

    I’ve never heard it either! Does it mean like, don’t burn your bill, and your bill is your mouth? (like a duck’s bill) ?

    • Thad

      Yep. The “bill” was the grandkid’s mouth, and she was warning them to be careful.

  • WorkSaveLive

    LOL. I’d never hear that before. I’m a little slow sometimes…what does that even mean??

    • Thad

      She was telling the grandkids they would burn their mouths if they ate something hot. It was a way to warn them to be careful.

      • Doug

        This may help explain what Clyde ment. Clyde consudered her kids, grandkids, neices and nephews, her “little ducklings”. A ducks mouth is called a bill. So, “Don’t burn your bill”…

        • Thad

          Thanks Doug!

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