The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #18820   Message #188611
Posted By: Joe Offer
03-Mar-00 - 01:41 AM
Thread Name: Origin: Rough and tough and hard to bluff
Subject: Rough and tough and hard to bluff
Can anybody tell me the source of this phrase?
I'm John Jacob Schmidt,
and I'm rough and tough and hard to bluff
and used to many hardships.
During the five summers that I was a camp counselor in Wisconsin in the 1960's, an unusual man named Erv Kasian drove up from Chicago every week to spend a couple of days at the camp. I can't recall him doing much, other than relaxing; but he more than earned his keep by telling his incredibly corny stories at our campfires. The Erv story I liked best was the once about John Jacob Schmidt, an early settler who encountered all sorts of difficulties in the New World. Erv would describe each situation in great detail, and John Jacob Schmidt would always come out on top, saying,
I'm John Jacob Schmidt,
and I'm rough and tough and hard to bluff
and used to many hardships.
Finally, John Jacob got himself into a situation that looked almost impossible, He was captured by some villains (probably Indians, maybe pirates) who had all sorts of tortures for their captives. Jonh Jacob endured them all cheerfully. At last, the captors said that John Jacob could go free and marry the daughter of the Chief Villain if he endured one more torture, which nobody had ever survived. The Chief Villain presented Schmidt with two potato chips, chips that were harder than the hardest steel. Everyone who had been forced to bite these potato chips before had broken all their teeth, and had died the death. John Jacob cheerfully accepted the chips from the Chief Villain, and gobbled the chips with gusto. The villains where aghast, but they freed John and married him off to the Beautiful Maiden. When asked how he accomplished this marvelous feat, Schmidt replied,
I'm John Jacob Schmidt,
and I'm rough and tough and hard to bluff
and used to many hard CHIPS.
Erv was a marvelous storyteller, but there was something about this story that makes me think he got a good part of it from somewhere else. Have any of you heard of this story, or of John Jacob Schmidt (not Jingelheimer), or of the phrase?
I searched the Web and found a few uses of the phrase, but nothing that gave indication of the source of the phrase. Does anybody have an idea where it comes from?
For that matter, is there anybody here who happens to have known Erv? I think he used to work at the Boys Club in Chicago. He was quite a guy - even let me use the Honda 50 motorbike he kept stored at the camp.
-Joe Offer-