Indeed, a dusty cowboy sounds like a better origin for manly advice than a dusty Okie running from the dust bowl.
I will offer a variant on the game of "Who did say that?" My etymological explanation will focus on "Where did that saying come from?"
Here is a phrase many have heard, but many have likely misinterpreted its origins.
What does one mean when they say to go "balls to the wall." Well, we probably all know that it means to give maximum effort. But why does it mean that, and should this even be discussed in a family-friendly forum with Vacheronistas of delicate sensibilities. INDEED!
There are two popular theories, but one is certain. Military aircraft have commonly had throttles control levers that are topped with spheres, like an old-fashioned gear shifter on a manual transmission. When the throttle was pushed full forward, or against the panel, it was for maximum acceleration, and is first documented in use in 1969, although anecdotally, Korean war vets have claimed to have used it in the 1950s.
The other theory (although not documented anywhere) is that early locomotives used a ball in a parabolic ramp to measure acceleration. If the ball was at rest in the center of the parabola, the train was not accelerating. If it was up the back of the parabola, the train was accelerating forward, and vice versa. So, some believe that the expression likely originated there, when the train was at maximum acceleration, the ball would be all the way back, or against the wall.
Either way, the phrase "balls to the wall" has much more in common with "pedal to the metal" than with any anatomical connotation. So your delicate sensibilities and the family-friendliness of this forum are safe.
Thanks for the thread, Doc. I love these things.