"This just popped into my head. My father, trying to be cute when we started off in the car, would say…

'We're off like a turd of hurtles…. I mean a herd of turtles.'

But inevitably, Mr. Cum Laude in physics, would say it correctly the first time, so we got the line three times!" -Patricia

Looking on the web it seems that the more common phrase of the two is, "We're off like a herd of turtles" to mean off to a slow start. "Turd of hurtles" is meant to be even more funny. –Mama Lisa

Notes

I found these expressions below to also mean off to a slow start…

"Thundering along like a herd of turtles."
"The crack of noon." (Instead of "crack of dawn")

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Thanks and Acknowledgements

Thanks to Dr. Patricia Burke of Providence, Rhode Island for sharing this rhyme with us and for commenting on it!