Oh my suds and body

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jacdac

Senior Member
Lebanese
‘Wild Bill Hickok wasn’t no range-rider! He never fought him no bear with a Bowie knife, either! He was just another bushwhackin John Law! Dumb sonofabitch sat with his back to the door and got kilt by a drunk!’
Oh my suds and body, a history lesson!’ Brutal exclaimed, and shoved Wharton out of his cell.
Source: The Green Mile by Stephen King
Context: This scene is taking place at Cold Mountain penitentiary. Paul called the convict Wharton ‘Wild Bill’.

What does the expression mean literally and metaphorically?


Thank you.
 
  • velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I'd say it's a twist on the old-fashioned exclamation "Oh my soul and body!"

    I've no idea why this person should use "suds".
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    "Suds" - a euphemism for "soul".

    It is formulaic phrase used to express sarcastic despair towards the listener. He could have said "O my God! A history lesson" in the meaning of "I hope that you don't think that you are telling me something that (a) I do not know and (b) is at all useful - why did you bother to say that?"

    Crosspost.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    "Suds and body" - a joking reference to beer? Beer is a drink with "body" and the foam could be called "suds".
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    That's an interesting thought - it incorporates the idea of the physical and ephemeral/spiritual aspects in which the "suds" is literal and "body" is more figurative (as opposed to the other way around.)

    Rural AE seems to be filled with religious references moderated by puritan sensibilities which have fallen into mere "set phrases" devoid of much meaning.
     
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