Proverbs prefer Twitter to blogs. They don’t have time to sit around drinking high-priced coffee at Starbucks like Essays who have the leisure to write hundreds or thousands of words about topics like “The Top Ten Ways to Avoid Unnecessary Risk.” Proverbs are words with common sense; they tweet, “Don’t poke the bear,” and then head for work. Most of them have blue-collar jobs and drink their coffee out of thermos flasks they fill at home.
On the weekends though, they will go out to celebrate a birthday or anniversary or maybe attend the wedding they thought would never happen because Gordon believes that the key to a happy marriage is a long engagement. Fewer years of marriage, he always says. Now that Gordon is seventy, Georgetta has convinced him to make his vows. So for the love of Gordon, a Proverb will pull out its good suit and new, red tie and show up at the wedding looking like an Aphorism, which is just an upper class Proverb, not to be confused with a Maxim, which is a Proverb with manners.
Hold on, I hear you saying, I beg to differ. First, no need to beg: differ away. I like to differ myself. Just remember, in a police line-up, most eyewitnesses have a very difficult time picking out the word perp.
“So, Mrs. McGillicuddy, can you identify the one you saw writing graffiti on the storefront?”
Mrs. McGillicutty twists her wedding ring. She just got married to Gordon a week ago and realizes she has just spelled her name wrong. She wonders if the police officer will notice. Then she takes off her glasses, wipes the lenses, and looks back at the officer. “Are you sure they can’t see me?”
Absolutely, says the officer, who waves at the line-up to prove his point. Mrs. McGillicuddy (who remembers this time to use double-d instead of double-t) doesn’t see two of the suspects wave back.
No matter how much time she spends looking at the Proverb, the Aphorism, the Maxim, the Saying, the Adage, the Saw, the Axiom, the Dictum, and the twins, Apothegm and Apophthegm, she can’t make a clear identification. The officer has no choice; he releases the words. They head to the nearest bar, and utter short, witty words and phrases in an effort to pick up hot-looking Quotes or Euphemisms in tight clothing.
I like proverbs, aphorisms, maxims, and all the rest. Half the time I can’t tell the difference between them, except for the twins. We Americans like the more acidic Apothegm, while the British prefer the one with the higher pH level, Apophthegm. Beyond that, they look pretty much like the rest of their relatives.
Now that I have consciously revealed my ignorance versus my normal unwitting way of revealing it, I would like to share some aphorisms with commentary.
- A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, as you know if you read this blog.
- Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt. If you have any doubts about me, keep reading this blog.
- Count your blessings. If you’re like me, you’ll need a calculator.
- Don’t count your chickens before they hatch because counting your blessings is enough math for one day.
- “East is east, and west is west” can be read backwards and still make sense.
- Familiarity breeds contempt and lots of babies.
- Good and quickly seldom meet. I’ve tested this on my blog and it’s true.
- Half a loaf is better than none, but it’s still a lot of carbohydrates at one meal.
- If home is where the heart is, my home is in my chest cavity.
- Ignorance is bliss. This explains my inexplicable happiness.
- Let the chips fall where they may. We’ll vacuum after the game.
- Money talks – to everyone but me.
Enjoy your day.