This phrase is a modern oral tradition in the U.S. I like it for that reason alone. We have very few of them in modern life. It hearkens back to something we grew up hearing, and telling each other. Who knows where it comes from, but it embodies all the stories we heard from our grandparents and the hardships they faced, and how much harder their times were than our own privileged upbringings.
It’s an inherent contradiction, too, that would need explanation in translation. It’s like some of the old Hebrew phrases that seem quaint but poignant even still.