Proverbs of various types are little snippets that purport to convey great wisdom. Unfortunately life is full of complex problems and a statement of less than a dozen words can be expected to fail miserably. However, each generation teaches these to their young, thereby perpetuating the practice. Worse, if you think about many of them they make no sense whatsoever. Part of this is because of their age. They are as meaningful to modern people as saying “Hit Control, Alt, Delete” to someone in the 12th century.
“It warms the cockles of my heart.” – After many years in the healthcare industry, I’ve yet to find anyone who can show me, or even identify a cardiac cockle.
“A penny saved is a penny earned.” – First off, a penny hasn’t been worth anything in quite a while – the government keeps trying to find a way to stop minting them. Secondly, if it’s earned, does this mean we have to pay income tax on it? Hardly an incentive.
“Being at death’s door.” – We use this expression to indicate someone is seriously ill. For less serious illnesses, shouldn’t we say something like, “Sitting on the front porch of the house up the street from Death?”
“There’s more than one way to skin a cat.” – Ewww. Not to mention you could get thirty years in prison.
“The exception that proves the rule.” – This is wrong on so many levels it isn’t even funny.
“A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” – With the exception of my parrot, Alex, I prefer that birds stay in the trees and bushes where they belong.
“A friend in need is a friend indeed.” – Seems to me a friend who shows up with cold beer and hot pizza would be a better candidate than one always asking for something.
“Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” Perhaps once upon a time, but in these days of instant gratification it is more likely to lead to a breakup.
“You can’t tell a book by its cover.” – The why do publishers spend all that money on cover art; If it’s got a muscular man with no shirt – it’s a romance novel. If it’s got long shadows it’s a mystery. And if all else fails, read the title “Freshman Physics” is a dead giveaway.
“Nothing succeeds like success.” – And nothing fails like failure. Nothing is more sugary than sugar. Nothing is saltier than salt. Etc.