Friday, July 15, 2011

Top 10 Proverbial opposites

As you grow up, you hear people use pithy little sayings to prove a point.  As though alliteration or rhyme will lend credence to something that might not be able to stand on it's own merits.  I would always tend to take these little bon-mots to their literal conclusion.  'Those who fail to plan, plan to fail'  Well, that's not true.  Because they aren't planning at all 'Well that's not the point mark'  I know, I know, and still the phrase by itself is not true, you have to turn off a portion of your brain in order to make it true.  I'm ok with that, I turn off my brain all the time.  Especially when watching TV.

So here are several proverbs that 'prove' the opposite of the other one.  Special thanks and kudos to my brother Mikey for helping me with this one.

1. Haste makes waste. -  a stitch in time saves 9, The early bird catches the worm - Good things come to those who wait.  -  A ton of these time sayings.  One begs to be deliberate.  Another decries procrastination,  The opposites tend to say patience is a virtue and that there is nothing wrong with being the first in line.  Lets sum all of these into one less than clever saying.  Don't waste your time you moron.

2. A leap of faith - Look before you leap. - A leap of faith is of course action based on no tactile reason.  Look before you leap is the exact opposite.  I would imagine one is better used in church and the other better used outside of church.   The funny thing is, each phrase is VERY out of place outside of it's home turf.

3. Too many cooks spoil the broth - The more the merrier. - One really speaks to management and the other speaks to teamwork.  They are not genuinely the opposite unless you take them out of their simplistic elements.  The more managers the merrier?  Hardly.  Too many helpers spoils the yard work?  Not unless it's  your local high-school football team.

4. Penny wise Pound foolish - In for a penny, In for a Pound  -  Wow, these are opposites as well as  British.  I love the British.  Aside from our rocky beginnings, I think we as American's don't have a better constant ally and friend as we do in our friends across the pond.  So the first explains how people can be so tight with small money yet silly with larger sums.  The other actually speaks more for following a small risk with a larger risk in order to save the smaller risk.  Mostly I liked these together because they both have pounds.  It really wouldn't sound good as penny wise euro foolish. etc.

5. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread - fortune favors the bold. -  Fools don't know how dangerous something is but it seems that good fortune will follow them.  I think fools get the short shrift a lot.  Being a fool from time to time it often ends with consequences that are unfavorable.  On the other hand, if it weren't for fools, a lot of things wouldn't get done.

6. 3rd time is a charm - Bad things comes in 3's. -  wow, 3 this and 3 that.  magic number 3 x 3.  Best number ever 3 x 3 x 3 (There are lots of reasons, but I won't go into them)  Bad things come in 3's?  Is that because we like to count to 3?  or because 2 is not enough and 4 is way too many?  Not sure really.  Seems like the 3rd time is a charm with bad things that's for sure.

7. A good beginning makes a good ending - all's well that ends well.  -  Planning v.s the ends justify the means.  The other version of the first that I remember was in Mary Poppins.  Well begun is half done.  Same basic thing, start with planning and enthusiasm and you'll probably end things well.  On the other hand, as long as the outcome is good, it doesn't matter what went into it.  Kind of like sausage.

8. Out of the mouths of babes - Children should be seen and not heard. - The upshot of both of these phrases is, Kids talk too much.  I can't count how many times I've seen something that kids have said be taken out of context or lied about all together.   Jimmy Carter claimed his daughter said that the worlds biggest problem was Nuclear Proliferation.  Now if she only knew what proliferation was, she would have had something going.  More often than not, kids yammer on about things that matter to them but are largely unimportant.  My dad really liked that latter of these two phrases.  I always resented that when I was a kid.  Now I find it is crafted from the purest gold.

9. A thing of beauty is a joy forever - Beauty is only skin deep.  -  One of our proverbs gives us advice to appreciate the beauty around us.  The other tells us not to be vain or to judge people based on appearance.  Of course this is in alignment with Judging a book by it's cover.  If we mix the purpose of these proverbs we should understand that the beauty around us is but a facade and that the true beauty you can appreciate, you can appreciate forever.

10. This too shall pass - All good things must come to an end.  - Wow two proverbs that say the same thing from opposite points of view.  Like this blog.  Good or bad, it's going to come to an end.

****** BONUS ENTRY! *******

11. Think outside the box - The simplest answer is usually the best one.  -  Bonus entry!  I just find that proverbial thinking is often perverted by business.  So one of the great business buzz phrases, thinking outside the box, should be put up against Occam's razor.  The simplest answer is the best one.  Age old enemy of blustering businesses everywhere.  Good business on the other hand should think outside the box and re-consider Occam's razor.

Thanks for stopping by!  Don't take any wooden nickels!


swampthings said...

Reminds me of one of my favorite sayings, "if it rhymes, it must be true."

Another excellent blog! Thanks!

SandraSanders said...

Hello! I just saw that your RSS of this domain is functioning correctly, did you all the settings by yourself or you used the default settings of the widget?

Macotar said...

Wow Sandra, Ummm...yeah, I don't do anything with settings or anything. Blogger does all of that heavy lifting. Sorry I can't be of more assistance.