Thursday, 2 April 2009

Thursday 13: Nay Sayings

Header from samulli

This week, a list of thirteen proverbs and sayings that don't really stand up to rigorous analysis:

1. A Stitch In Time Saves Nine

I could snarkily point out that while the current scientific view of the universe allows for the bending of time, it does not currently entertain the notion of the stitching of it, but let's not be picky. This proverb basically says that if something needs stitching, then you're best doing it at the start when it will take a single stitch to fix it, because later on the tear/hole/whatever will just get larger and you'll end up having to do nine stitches. Now, let's be realistic; if you're too darn lazy to do just one stitch, there's no way you'll ever get around to doing nine of them, is there? No, best to just see it as an excuse to throw the thing out and go on a shopping spree for a replacement. The proverb should really read, A Stitch In Time Robs You Of A Shopping Trip.

Also, in its wider sense, this is a warning about procrastination but I think my analysis of that aspect's best left for another day.

2. A Trouble Shared Is A Trouble Halved

No, it isn't. You just get the other person worrying about it too, and maybe gossiping about it to other people, and then things escalate and you wish you'd just kept quiet. Possibly more accurate would be A Trouble Shared Is A Trouble Squared, which at least has the grace to rhyme.

3. It's Always Darkest Before The Dawn

Well, at a wild guess, given the way the Earth rotates, and not dragging any reflected light from the moon into things, it'll actually be darkest about halfway between dusk and dawn.

4. A Bird In The Hand Is Worth Two In The Bush

I wasn't sure about this, so I did the following rigourously scientific experiment:

Score = 24

Score = 23

As you can see, A Bird In The Hand wins, although it's a close call, and it would have been an easy mistake to make in those pre-Scrabble times.

5. Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

Hardly the most insightful of sayings. What else can you let a sleeping dog do. It won't bark, it won't play fetch, it won't chase its tail; pretty much all a sleeping dog can do is lie, and possibly play dead.

6. Don't Count Your Chickens Before They're Hatched

With the advent of X-rays, surely that's no longer the case. Also, with counting them before they're hatched, at least you're fairly sure of the maximum number, whereas if you try and count that plethora of chicks running around everywhere you're bound to lose count or miss one.

7. You Are What You Eat

But surely that would make us all cannibals. Ick.

8. Accidents Will Happen

Well, duh. If they didn't happen, there'd be no need to mention them, would there?

9. Two Heads Are Better Than One

Well, call me picky, but I'm far happier with just one. Having two would just get people staring and pointing at me. Two Heads Are Better Than None would be more accurate, since I'd far rather have an additional surplus head added than have my current one removed.

10. An Englishman's Home Is His Castle

Actually, mine's more of a junkyard.

11. A Watched Pot Never Boils

Oh yes, it does. You've just got to be patient.

12. Laughter Is The Best Medicine

Not if you've got a sore throat, it's not.

13. Money Doesn't Grow On Trees

So, dollar bills are made of paper, and paper comes from trees... Yeah, someone's not quite thought this one through.


Rikki said...

Dead right on most of them, esp. #1. I'm a prime example of the "too darn lazy to do just one stitch", I always end up throwing stuff away. #2: yeah, but isn't it much nicer to worry together? Women enjoy that so much that they even take the risk of gossip.
Now, #4: I hardly dare say it, but...huh? Is it because I'm no scrabble player or because I'm thick? Please, elaborate on your experiment! Or would that spoil all the fun that everybody else is having with this?

An Eerie Tapestry said...

Well, #4 is clearly a joke that didn't work, or it's possible that not all the images were shown (which happened to me this morning with Mozilla where it only showed some of the tiles; I'll try and fix it tonight so that all the Scrabble tiles are together in one image rather than lots of separate ones). Basically, I was just checking the score for "A bird in the hand" against "Two in the bush" to see whether one was really worth the other. Sorry for any confusion caused.

As for worrying together, yeah, you're probably right, but it didn't really fit in with my general pulling apart of proverbs theme.

Rikki said...

Oh, I figured that this is what you were doing, but somehow I didn't get how a single "e" was scoring 23 points and what it would have to do with a bird in the hand, :-). Glad that there is nothing wrong with me. Now that I know your intention I'm admiring your inventiveness - pretty cunning!

The Bumbles said...

I like your suggestion for #2 - rhyming is always better. And #9 is so true ;0)

Rikki said...

Ah, much better now. Very neat, indeed.

An Eerie Tapestry said...

Thanks for the comments. Yes, The Bumbles, rhyming is always better (if Dr. Seuss taught me nothing else, he taught me that; indeed, I once heard someone say that the secret of comedy is rhyming, but I could have misheard). And thanks, Rikki, for pointing out my mistake in the first place and then taking the trouble to pop back once again to check I'd finally got it right. I appreciate it.

A Blog In The Rough said...

I have one problem with your stich in time...

It means if you are careful with your stitches you will get it done in less stitches and you won't have to go back and do 9 more coz you screwed it up in the 1st place.

An Eerie Tapestry said...

Apologies if I got the meaning wrong, Blog In The Rough, but the meaning I gave I've seen used elsewhere, but I'm perfectly willing to believe that's a common fallacy. Regardless, even with the definition you give, I'd no doubt screw up the stitching anyway (assuming that I should ever master threading the needle in the first place) and just go off in a huff and buy a new one, so I think, apart from my total misgrasping of the meaning, the majority of my argument still stands. Thanks for commenting.