draw oneself out of a wet paper bag


Senior Member
Russia: Russian
Here is an exstract:

"What you got... what you can do with a pencil or a brush... that's something special. Any dummy with half a brain can see that. I didn't teach you to do what you do. Couldn't have causeI don't know the first thing avout it - can't draw myself out of a wet paper bag."

Could you please tell me what is this phrase and where it comes from?

Thank you in advance
  • suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    I think the usual phrase is "fight your way out of a (wet) paper bag". It suggests that you can't do something very easy.

    The writer has adapted that familiar phrase for his character. The speaker is thus suggesting that he doesn't have much teaching or drawing talent, but his student does.
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