In some lost past post of mine somewhere in the blogosphere, I asserted that what you don’t know can’t hurt you is one of the dumbest well-known sayings ever said. Don’t get me wrong — I love a good old adage as much as the next good old adage lover, but not all old adages are created equal. I think we’re often inclined to take such supposed wisdom at face value, when a second look might give us pause — second thoughts, so to speak.
I have over the years acquired over a dozen books of old sayings, truisms, maxims, aphorisms, expressions, etc. Here is a selection from my collection which, upon further inspection, may warrant further reflection:
Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink.
That didn’t seem to bother W. C. Fields, Dean Martin or Homer Simpson.
Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
And yet, very few smokers carry fire extinguishers.
We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.
Easy now. What did that bridge ever do to you?
Truth is stranger than fiction.
In fact, so strange you can only find it in the Rare Books section.
Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.
So much for practice makes perfect.
What goes up must come down.
Try telling that to all the kites and balloons caught up in trees.
When the going gets tough, the tough get going.
But when the meek get tough, they get dis-blessed and disinherit the earth.
When it rains, it pours.
One word: drizzle.
When you lie down with dogs, you get fleas.
My dog resembles that remark (or at least he would, if he had fleas).
And that’s just scratching the surface. There’s plenty more where they came from, so I’m thinking there’s a Part II in your future, you lucky dog.