Proverbs Exposed: Part One

Sir Thomas More wearing the Collar of Esses as...

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I’m sick of proverbs. Sick of their all-knowing, thou-must-believe-in-what-I say-just-because-I’m-dead-and-you-can-no-longer-argue-it cockiness. We question religious axioms all the time, so why not question these tired old sayings? Why are they regarded as sage-like? Why are they memorable? What is so special about them that they have endured this long? Nothing, I say. In fact, it’s much more likely that they were created by closet anarchists with global brainwashing in mind. Henceforth I intend over the coming weeks to expose these proverbs for the fraudulent and woefully misleading quotes that they are, if only to inoculate you against possible recruitment into their clandestine ranks:

“A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” – Latin Proverb

 I disagree. The birds in the bush are less likely to take a crap on your hand. And what kind of birds are we talking about, exactly? If they’re vultures, then you’re probably dead, and none of this is a good thing, because the other two are probably just waiting in line for the buffet.

A burden that one chooses is not felt.” – Italian

 Occasionally, it’s Velcro. Just ask Bruno.

A carpenter is known by his chips.” – Jonathan Swift

No, George Crum, and the guy on the front of the Pringles can who looks like a fat Tom Selleck are known by their chips. A carpenter is known by his chairs and tables. Or by the fact that he had a son named Jesus. On the other hand, you, Mr. Swift, are now better known as one of the many casualties of Jack Black’s inexplicable career.

A cat in gloves catches no mice.” – 14th Century French Proverb

Unless your cat moonlights as a forensic detective, why is he wearing gloves at all? And if you’re the kind of person who puts gloves on your cat, the chances of him catching anything are further reduced by the fact that you’ve probably already trained your mice how to use skateboards.

A clear conscience is more valuable than wealth.” – Tagalog (Filipino)

Is there any one of you who wouldn’t like the chance to engage in a comparison test of this one? Didn’t think so. Wealth can buy a lot of forgiveness. Just sayin’.

A day is lost if one has not laughed” – French

 No, a day is lost if you went on an all-night bender, crashed at dawn, and woke up after midnight with no idea who you are, why you have no eyebrows, or why your junk smells of wet dog.

“A drowning man will clutch at a straw.” – Sir Thomas More

And will still drown. A life preserver or a rope would probably have been the wiser option.

“A few germs never hurt anyone.” – unknown

The reason this guy is unknown is because he died from diphtheria shortly after mailing his erroneous claim to Louis Pasteur.

A goose quill is more dangerous than a lion’s claw.” – English

Yes, history doth abound with tales of persecuted Christians in Roman times being thrown to the goose quills.

A house divided cannot stand.” – Bible (Matthew 12:25)

Sure it can. It just stands as two narrower, smaller houses.

A loan though old is not a gift.”- Hungarian

It’s also probably one you can give up ever expecting to get back.  What did you learn?

A man who asks is a fool for five minutes. A man who never asks is a fool for life.” – Chinese Proverb

 So…the choices boil down to the duration of the humiliation, then, and not whether or not you want to be perceived as a dumbass, which this cheery proverb seems to assume is a foregone conclusion. Seems like a rather complicated way of just telling you to shut your gum-holder forever.

 “A man who desires revenge should dig two graves.” – unknown

Especially if he desires revenge against more than just one person. And dig some more if you suspect things might get a little crazy. You can always fill them in later if you overestimated the body count.

“A new broom sweeps clean but an old broom knows the corners”. – Virgin Islander

And as anyone who watched HBO’s The Wire will tell you, it pays to know the corners.

A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.” – unknown

It’s more likely your “real friend” wasn’t there to experience firsthand whatever monumental faux pas you delivered to make everybody else in the world walk out. It’ll reach him eventually though. I mean, you offended the rest of the world, so what are the odds that he won’t hear about it? Yeah, you alone, homey.

“A rolling stone gathers no moss.” – John Heywood

Says who? Are you, Mister Heywood, a respected mossologist, or perhaps an expert in the behavior of stones in motion upon mossy hills? If not, I’d appreciate a citing of the scientific principles that support your argument. Because I think, depending on the shape, contour, porousness of the rock and the sogginess and adhesiveness of the moss itself, that yes, perhaps a rolling stone might indeed gather some moss. It might indeed. Unless we’re talking about Keith Richards tumbling down the hill, in which case you’re probably right because he’d just smoke all the moss before it had a chance to stick to him.

“A smile is a window in your face to show your heart is at home.” – unknown

I’m only going to say this one time: If you have a window of any kind in your face, go see a doctor. And if you can see your heart through that window, go see an undertaker. And along the way, watch for two birds in the bush.



Stay tuned for Part Two…



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