hope to die

Heard someone say “cross my heart and hope to die” this morning, as a way of making a promise sound more, well, promissory.

What?

What?

I remember saying this as a kid too, adding: “stick a needle in my eye.”

To which I must ask: What? What?

Perhaps this is kind of like those nursery rhymes born of the plague years that are unnecessarily grim (“ashes, ashes, we all fall down”) but, nowadays, “hoping to die” sounds like a cry for help, no?

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