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Having a Heart

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Stock Phrase/conversation that usually goes something along the lines of this:

Alice: I have the heart of a true hero!
Bob: Really?
Alice: Yeah, I keep it in a jar over there.

May substitute other body parts and other locations.

Sometimes features in parodies of Queen Elizabeth I's "I have the body of a weak woman, but the heart and stomach of a king" speech.

Not to be confused with Soul Jar, in which a character keeps his own heart in a jar somewhere to gain immunity from death, or with a Brain in a Jar, which is actually a working brain. If somebody professes to putting some heart into their cooking it just may be Made from Real Girl Scouts.



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  • In A Thin Veneer, a conversation between Klingon general Korrd and an Andorian Federation officer used this gag.
    Korrd: The Federation knew what it was doing when they dragged you back kicking and screaming to lead this expedition, old bug. You've the hearts of a pirate.
    Andorian: I know. [beat] I keep them in a jar in my quarters.
  • Plan 7 of 9 from Outer Space. Gneelix is a chimera (half-man, half-Siberian husky) created by xenograft surgery to settle the harsh polar regions.
    "I have the heart of a lion and the ferocity of a tiger! I'd have the eyes of a hawk and the ears of a fox too, but Doctor Moreau was arrested before he could perform the operation."


  • A (less squicky) variant in this joke:
    Junior walks into the kitchen and asks his mother, "Mom, you know how you said that my new baby sister has your eyes and Dad's nose?"
    "Yes," the mother answers. "What about it?"
    "Well, now she has Granddad's teeth!"

  • In Castle Hangnail, the wicked witch who has taken possession of the castle discusses strategies with the castle's chief minion to win the hearts of the neighboring villagers. The minion mentions that one of the castle's former Masters preferred a literal approach and kept a collection of hearts in jars in the basement.
  • Terry Pratchett's Discworld loves this trope.
    • "People said Nobby had the body of a 20-year old, only no one knew where he had hidden it..."
    • Night Watch:
      • Vimes is told that he has "the eye of a mass murderer". When his younger self asks if it's true, he says "In the pocket of my other suit, yes."
      • Carcer Dun wonders "what I've got in my pocket for a good boy, eh? Oh, yes... someone's ear. Still warm. Here you go, kid!"
    • Taken to the logical extreme by the Igors, who recycle theirs and others' body parts for those who need an organ donor. When an Igor says he has his grandfather's hands or his uncle's eyes, he means it.
  • "The Warlock's Hairy Heart" from The Tales of Beedle the Bard.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, Tyrion was having a bad day. The maester tried to cheer him up by saying "take heart", but a cranky Tyrion simply said "Whose?"
  • In Wax and Wayne, the second Mistborn series, kandra tend toward this, since their shapeshifting depends on shaping around bones. One kandra owns the hands of a character from the first series. His descendent is noticeably not pleased.

     Live Action TV 
  • On The Drew Carey Show, Mimi is described as having a crying little girl deep inside her...and it's giving her indigestion.
  • One The Benny Hill Show gag features a family cooing over a baby while saying things like "he's got his father's nose". Then Benny says "Never should have given him that bloody penknife" (paraphrase). End of sketch.
  • Attention Scum: "I have the eyes of a hawk, the legs of a cheetah, and the cock of a hippopotamus! All I need now is some glue."
  • In Kamen Rider Dragon Knight, Kamen Rider Strike uses this as an insult towards Sting, a wannabe Marine with asthma:
    Strike: You've got heart, kid...but no lungs!
  • In a MythBusters test involving human skulls, the team has difficulty locating one. Eventually Adam brings in his father's skull... meaning, the narrator quickly states, a skull his father owns.
  • The subject of a MADtv sketch in which a coach is in the locker room giving his team the obligatory speech and arrives at, "You gotta have THIS!" He's upset when the team suddenly loses interest in the subject of his speech and starts inquiring why he's brandishing a human heart in his hand, where the heart came from (he claims it's a family heirloom kept for making this speech), why it's dripping fresh blood (he claims it would be silly to not store a human heart in blood), where the blood came from...
  • On Once Upon a Time, a lot of people have a tendency to either rip other people's hearts out (Regina, Rumplestiltskin, Cora, Captain Hook), be controlled/manipulated by the person who has their heart (too many to list, as Cora once went to town on an entire village) or be killed when their hearts are crushed (again, too many to list). Cora is notable for being the only one to rip out her own heart (for safekeeping) and be killed when it is put back in.
  • Used in an episode of Have I Got News for You, in which the panel were discussing a news story about a Satanist who'd been recruited into the Royal Navy. Guest host Robin Cook read a quote from the sailor's mother saying "He doesn't have an evil bone in his body", then quipped that they were all in the biscuit tin under his bunk.
  • This line from Crystal in Le Cœur a ses Raisons:
    "I am not a granny! I have the body of a 20 years-old woman! I keep in the trunk of my car for organ transplants."

  • Tom Lehrer:
    • "I Hold Your Hand in Mine", from Songs by Tom Lehrer:
      I hold your hand in mine, dear,
      I press it to my lips.
      I take a healthy bite
      From your dainty fingertips.
      My joy would be complete, dear,
      If you were only here,
      But still I keep your hand
      As a precious souvenir.
    • "The Masochism Tango", from An Evening Wasted with Tom Lehrer:
      At your command
      Before you here I stand,
      My heart is in my hand, ...ecch...
      It's here that I must be.
  • Jimmy Buffett's "Schoolboy Heart." It starts out with puns ("I've got a schoolboy heart, a novelist's eye ...") but ends with Buffett speculating on how such diverse parts must have been assembled by demented aliens from the dismembered corpses of shipwrecked sailors.
  • The narrator of Dem Bones (not *that* one) by Creature Feature has the heart of a child-several, in fact, though his current mania is for bones.

     Newspaper Comics 
  • Garfield: "Inside every fat person, there's a thin person trying to get out. Mine escaped years ago."
  • A variation in a The Far Side comic: a factory worker is said to have a good head on his shoulders... it's best not to mention it. The worker does indeed have a tiny head growing out of his shoulder.

     Tabletop Games 
  • From Duel Masters, this is the card description for a creature called Gigabolver: It looks like a hideous monster, but there's really a sweet little girl deep down inside. In its stomach.

  • Variation in BIONICLE:
    Tarix:You have to admit- For a Jungle type, he has guts.
    Strakk: Yes. And I think we're about to see them.

     Video Games 
  • Used in Grim Fandango:
    Membrillo: The secret to my happiness, Manuel, is I have the heart of a twelve year old child. I keep it in a jar over here. Would you like to see it?
    Manny: No.
    Membrillo: Sorry, old coroner joke.
  • Parodied in Psychonauts:
    Kochamara: Fine, take control of this freaky toad! I don't need him to nab children for me anymore. I've got the brain of a little girl (Raz begins to laugh) back in my lab that's strong enough to power a whole army of psycho-blaster death tanks- (he finally realizes Raz is laughing) What?!
    Raz: You've got the brain of a little girl?
    Kochamara: I said: In my lab!
    Raz: I think you've got the muscles of a little girl, too!
    Kochamara: Grrr... Good one.
  • Apparently, Tim Schafer (the designer of both Grim Fandango and Psychonauts above) likes this joke as much as Terry Pratchett. Emperor Doviculus from Brütal Legend keeps enemies' body parts within his own body, e.g. Drowned Ophelia's heart, however briefly. Also, if you lose the final battle against him, the game gives us a Non Standard Game Over where he quips "You have your mother's eyes. And soon, so shall I... On a necklace, I think." before shoving his fingers into Eddie's eye sockets.
  • Samurai Shodown IV has a variation of this in a post-battle-quote for Bust-Jubei: "You've got guts. Pick them up!"
  • Terry Bogard in The King of Fighters '95 also indulges into this: "You had guts, kid. Now wipe 'em off the pavement!"
  • Rokhan in Warcraft III offers this unit response gem: "I've lost me head! It was about, ah, yea big, I was keeping in on my spear. If you find it let me know."
  • World of Warcraft:
    • The Wizard of Oz event in Karazhan. The Tin-Man's starting line is "I could really use a heart. Say, can I have yours?"
    • Even worse is a joke by female Forsaken: "Of course they're real! They're not mine, but they're real!"
  • A conversation in X-Men Legends II goes something like this: "Sabretooth has a good heart!" "That's only because he ripped it out of someone else."
  • There is one mission in Grand Theft Auto IV called "Have a Heart", in which Niko, under Elizabeta's orders, has to take the shot-dead bodies of Manny and his cameraman to a doctor-slash-organ dealer, falling more under this trope than what one could expect.
  • From Radiant Historia: "After he'd spilled his guts, well... he spilled his guts."
  • One of the opening lines from the Combat Commentators in Fossil Fighters: Champions is along the lines of "One fighter will emerge with the heart of a champion —IN HIS TEETH!"
  • In Kingdom of Loathing, fighting a Spooky Hobo in Hobopolis may lead to the attack message "He tells you he has the heart of a twelve-year-old boy. Then he tells you where he keeps it. *Shudder*"
  • Dark Cloud 2 has Dr. Osmond, who, upon being asked by Monica to lend a hand, reluctantly hands one of his over.
  • One commercial from the You Don't Know Jack series features a company that sells spare human parts.
  • Dota 2 has this bit from Nevermore the Shadow Fiend (who, for context, is a soul-collecting Eldritch Abomination): "It's true, I have the soul of a poet. I just can't remember where I put it."
  • Borderlands 3 has FL4K mention this, though it's unclear if they mean it literally or are just messing with Wainwright.
    Wainwright: "I suppose the heart of an adventurer beats within you, Vault Hunter."
    FL4K: "You are close. I keep one in my jacket pocket."

     Web Comics 

     Web Original 

     Western Animation 
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold has Scarlet Scarab, the evil alternate Jaime Reyes/Blue Beetle, saying "I've got the heart of a real hero!" while talking to himself. Batman (skulking through the shadows) pricks his ears up. "I keep it in a jar in my closet." Batman is not amused.
  • The Simpsons Halloween episode, they had Kodos and Kang saying they had the hearts (splat!) and minds (plop!) of the Earth people.
  • Futurama:
    • "Insane in the Mainframe", after Fry recovers from thinking he's a robot, Bender tries to compliment him by saying that even though he's human, he has the heart of a robot, adding "just like inside my cold, hard exterior is the heart of a human." Which he pulls out. Everyone else is disgusted, but Bender just asks "What?"
    • Professor Farnsworth keeps his business plan right next to his heart... which is to say, in a filing cabinet.
    • In the first X-Mas episode, Bender mentions that one time he gave blood. Whose blood? "Some guy's."
  • Robots: Mr. Copperbottom mentions that the newborn Rodney "got your mom's eyes and my dad's nose. I knew we were smart to save those parts."
  • Dr. Doofensmirtz from Phineas and Ferb is somewhat distressed to discover that his alternate-dimensional self wears an eye-patch. They then do this trope in song!
    Doof: I thought I'd have both my eyes...
    Doof 2: It's in this pouch!
    Doof: ...ouch!

     Real Life 
  • Robert Bloch, who wrote Psycho among other stories, liked to say he had the heart of a little a jar on his desk.
  • Spike Milligan once said "I have the body of an eighteen-year-old. I keep it in my fridge."
  • There's an old joke that goes "My grandfather has the heart of a lion, and a lifetime ban from the zoo."


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