"Well, slap my ass and call me Sally!" I laughed out loud when my internet friend Rocky Rodenbach, of Tampa, Florida, used it in an email. When I asked him about it, he said the phrase was commonplace in his neck of the woods, to express surprise.
An American blogger wrote: "It's a reference to newborns. The doctor/midwife/nurse/whoever's doing the delivery will give the baby a smack to encourage the lungs to start, and it's also around this time that the baby is named, hence the 'call me...' part. So the person using the expression would be saying that he or she was apparently naïve about something, as a newborn would be".
Dozens of similar expressions can be found on the internet. I particularly like
"Paint me purple and call me stupid."
Here are some of the others:
Well, pour me out and call me buttermilk.
Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit.
Well, love me tender and call me Elvis
Well, shut my mouth and call me luggage
Well, paint my toenails and call me Mabel
Well, buy me slippers and call me Dorothy
Well, strip my gears and call me shiftless
Well, wet my feet and call me Ducky
Well, slap my forehead and call me stupid
Well, feed me nails and call me Rusty
Well, rub my belly and call me Buddha
British and Australian readers may have thought that the ass being slapped was a donkey, as they spell the slang word for butt (buttocks) as arse.
If the expression did in fact refer to a donkey, then it may well have been adapted from this English nursery rhyme or children's song:
Dancing Dolly had no sense,
She bought a fiddle for eighteen pence--
And the only tune that she could play
Was "Sally get out of the donkey's way."
Brits of a certain age will remember with pleasure, pop singer Gracie Fields belting out the song "Sally in Our Alley":
She is the darling of my heart,
And she lives in our alley
I was surprised to learn that Sally in Our Alley was born long before the 20th century. English composer and playwright Henry Carey (c. 1693-1743) wrote the original tune and words, and the song was first published in 1726.
About that time, Sally Lunn, a young French baker, sought refuge in England. "She began to bake a rich round and generous bread now known as the Sally Lunn bun," said the Sally Lunn's Co. in the English town of Bath.
Maybe that too was the origin of this nursery rhyme::
Sally go round the moon,
Sally go round the sun.
Sally go round the chimneypots
On a Saturday afternoon.
Slap my ass and call me Sally! reminded me of a similar phrase I heard used by Australian and US troops serving in New Guinea during World War II: "Cut off my legs and call me Shorty!" That was the name of a song Louis Armstrong recorded in 1940 which was often broadcast by the US Armed Forces radio stations.
Smack My Ass & Call Me Sally Bangin' hot sauces are manufactured by Tijuana Hot Foods Inc., based not in Tijuana, Mexico, but in Florida, US.
"Chet was a bad dude, the kinda guy that would steal the wooden leg from a handicapped person," said the Insane Chicken website, in Pembroke, Massachusetts, "so it was no surprise when someone slipped some of this homemade hot sauce into Chet's moonshine. After one sip, big Chet fell to his knees and with a tear in his eye shouted, 'Well Smack My Ass and Call Me Sally!'"
Slap My Ass Sauce Tasting
Gracie Fields Sings Sally in Our Alley: