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Can anyone explain the meaning of this 1920’s postcard? The text reads: “I should worry like the iceman and cut some ice.” Next to this is a cartoon of a little boy with an axe chopping a large block of ice. I am attaching an image here.

I’m assuming it’s a joke… a visual pun or some other word play. It could be playing off of the phrase “doesn’t cut ice with me”… meaning the argument or person in question has no influence or effect on the speaker… but even if that’s true I still have no idea what it means..

See this thread for a discussion about the origin of that phrase “cut ice with me”: Is Iroquoi the origin of the American idiom “cuts no ice with me”?

Anyone have thoughts?

Note: the stamp is postmarked 1920… I don’t actually know when the postcard was printed. I should worry like the iceman and cut some ice

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    Just a note: the iceman may be the man who delivered the ice to (non-poor) people's kitchens before the age of the refrigerator. Ice from Canada used to be brought to Europe on very large ships all the time just for people's ice-boxes at home. Oct 9, 2023 at 0:04
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    Yes agreed, iceman would seem to mean the person who delivered blocks of ice. The cartoon block of ice would seem to support that interpretation… but here there could be a double meaning… perhaps iceman meaning someone with “nerves of steel” ie not easily worried… which connects to the “I should worry” part… meaning “I’m not worried”… seems to me the card is stringing together three common phrases/slang terms: 1. “I should worry”; 2. “Iceman”; 3. “Cut ice”… but still I feel I don’t exactly get the joke.
    – J. Dixon
    Oct 9, 2023 at 0:15
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    This "I should worry..." thing seems to have been a 1900's postcard-formula. Search google for I should worry postcards to see a lot more equally inscrutable reults. Also see this. Oct 9, 2023 at 0:21
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    We can at least say that I should worry is sarcastic - I ain't worried because ... Oct 9, 2023 at 0:40
  • @Heartspring 1900s meme template? Oct 9, 2023 at 1:47

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Having seen another "I should worry" postcard (https://www.ebay.com/itm/235087774371), I suppose an iceman is always worried because his merchandise melts easily. To "worry like the iceman" would mean that someone must act with no delay. A corruption of "I should hurry like the iceman", perhaps?

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  • Especially given that the ice came from ice lakes 100's of miles away, by train, to places like NYC in the summer, tons in carriages every day. For paris i know it came from the Alps the lake was in shadow and had dedicated train tracks. Oct 14, 2023 at 2:53

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