I have a friend from Mississippi and I've heard him use this expression sometimes: slicker than snot on a doorknob. What exactly does it mean? (I guess it's something positive but I'm not too sure myself.)
Doorknobs, generally being made of smooth materials such as brass or glass, are somewhat slippery. Snot, also being made of smooth materials, is comparably slippery.
Combine the two and you have quite the traction-less situation.
This is a vivid metaphor known colloquially as a 'redneck expression', like colder than a witch's tit in a brass brassiere or hotter than two rats [redacted] in a wool sock.
For what it's worth, I have always heard it as
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I'm inclined to think this expression may be a coinage from Harlan Ellison (sci-fi writer hero of my youth, who moved on to become a successful Hollywood screenwriter). The earliest occurrence of slicker than snot I can find is from his 1972 The other glass teat: further essays of opinion on television. He writes of some particularly abysmal TV shows that they have vanished...
Based on the fact that doo-doo through a colander occurs nowhere else in Google Books, it seems likely to me that Ellison created both expressions there and then, but only the former survived.
Ellison himself is pretty slick with words - among which I'm quite taken with his “The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity.”
As regards meaning, per Ellison's usage above, it's an alliterative conjunction of (pejorative) slickness with a situation whereby something exceptionally unpleasant turns out to be exactly where you can't avoid coming into contact with it (you have to turn the knob to use the door).
More recent usages often dispense with the "unpleasant" connotation, with the expression being used as a (sometimes even admiring) metaphorical reference to a smooth operator, or simply a literal reference to slipperiness (icy roads, pavements, etc.)
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To me, it means that your hand will come off of said doorknob VERY FAST! Based on the idea that if you grab onto a doorknob that has something unknown on it, your first instinct is to let go. But once you realize that said substance is SNOT, your entire mind and body will be completely consumed with the visceral commitmentment to remove your hand!! Perhaps at speed approaching the speed of sound.
And anybody with a whit of imagination can relate, and will unconsciously wince at the thought of sticking their own hand on a similar doorknob.