Like many of you, my mother influenced the person I am today. We share many of the same loves.
My mom still loves words, reading, crossword puzzles, and gardening, so do I. She also loved writing and walking when she was younger and I do too. And she always had a way of making me see things differently with the phrases she used.
One of Mom’s phrases: More problems than Carter has liver pills.
Here’s where it comes from:
more something than Carter has (liver) pills
a great deal of something. (Older; refers to a product called Carter’s Little Liver Pills.) Why he’s got more problems than Carter has pills! Bobby has more marbles than Carter has liver pills! See also: has, more, pill – McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
For this to have any meaning, you have to hear my mom’s timing for the phrase. Mom still will say this now and then, especially if I seem to be complaining or whining. Then I get to hear, “You have more problems than Carter’s liver pills.”
We all let life overwhelm us sometimes. This was Mom’s way of agreeing that to me it seemed like I had a lot of problems. And at the same time she was giving me a gentle reminder that perhaps those horrible problems were not as bad as I made them out to be. I think if you quizzed my sons, you would probably hear them tell you that I too have used that phrase and probably with even more of a tone than my mom did.
Since much of the time I am working with job seekers or career changers, and for them, life can be overwhelming. I think it helps to remember that we focus too hard on our problems at times.
When Mom said this to me, it often made me laugh. I usually realized that if I calmed down, I could resolve my problems perhaps by breaking things down into small steps and moving forward one step at a time.