"Look. ma, no hands!” is what a child says to his mother about his trick bicycle-riding skills. The mother, however, is often horrified for the safety of the child. The saying has been cited in print since at least 1942.
The show-off’s expression “Look, ma, no hands!” has been applied to many other circumstances besides bicycle riding, both in sports and in business.
28 June 1942, San Francisco (CA) Chronicle, “Apricots Are Golden in Color and Wealth” by Franc Shor, sec. 4, pg. 7, col 3:
Riding one of those three-legged apricot ladders is very much like riding a bicycle—all you have to do is learn how to balance it. I’m not at the “Look, ma, no hands” stage yet, but I only hang on with one now.
6 October 1942, Mason City (IA) Globe-Gazette, pg. 12, col. 2:
Johnny Gets a Bicycle
Little 12 year old Johnny became proud of his accomplishments as a trick bicycle ride so one day he decided to show off to his mother and as he blithely rode by the house with both hands above his head he proudly yelled to his dear mother at the window: “Look, ma, no hands.”
23 June 1948, Sarasota (FL) Herald-Tribune, “Well, At Least He Had Brakes On The Vehicle,” Pg. 10, col. 7:
Los Angeles—(AP)—The kid on the bicycle who hollered “Look Ma, no hands,” had a grown-up counterpart today.
Victory in My Hands
By Harold Russell with Victor Rosen
New York, NY: Creative Age Press
One day I came tearing past them without holding the handlebars. “Look, ma, no hands!” I shouted.
OCLC WorldCat record
Look ma, no hands : poems
Author: Philip Giglio
Publisher: Toronto : Missing Link Press, 1974.
OCLC WorldCat record
Look ma, no hands : automated transit is finally proving itself--and changing the rules of the game in transit planning
Author: Dennis McClendon
Edition/Format: Article : English
Publication: Planning. Vol. 53, no. 7 (July 1987)
December 29, 2012
Look Ma, no hands!
The title of this blog is one that every kid has uttered at one time or other. Usually just before some major “oops” befalls them. It actually rates right up there with “Hey! Watch me do THIS!”. The latter generally is associated with a visit to the ER and some stitches (or worse).