Debunking Proverbs

Posted: April 9, 2011 in Humor
Tags: , , ,

“A proverb( prŏv’ûrb’) is a short pithy saying in general use, stating a general truth or piece of advice.”

We’ve all heard them.  Proverbs and sayings are wonderful words aimed to deliver a meaningful message.  We use them as expressions of wisdom – I use them to sound smarter and philosophical, but that’s just me. 🙂

They tend to be almost poetic in nature, mastering the use of metaphors and providing vivid imagery.  Some have origins dating back to biblical times; words that have been around for years, that will no doubt outlive us, and remain long after we’re gone.

All that fancy jazz aside, have you ever actually analyzed what some are trying to say?  I mean, really listen?  In retrospect, some have left me scratching my head, perplexed, feeling like I’m trying to solve a riddle instead of learn a lesson.  Obviously I’m being overly dramatic in hopes of providing a good chuckle, but it’s true that some proverbs make more sense than others.

I’ve decided to highlight some of these great lesson-providers and give them the analytical, cross-examination treatment.  Debunk the fine phrases we’ve all dished out, in order to exemplify the “moral of the story”.

Before I offend anyone, let me say that I do understand the true meaning/message of the following proverbs and sayings; I just thought it would be fun –possibly funny—to view them with a more literal approach.  Let’s start:

“You can’t have your cake and eat it too.”

And why not?  What else do you propose I do with it?  Of course I’m eating it…especially if it’s strawberry shortcake!  Mmmmm.

“What you don’t know can’t hurt you.”

Really?  Suppose for a moment –hypothetically speaking– I was clueless about my girlfriend having sexual escapades behind my back.  Does the statement ring true if she gave poor, unsuspecting me a bad case of herpes?  Yah, I think that would hurt me in more ways than one.

“He, who lives by the sword, shall die by the sword.”

Tell that to Aldo Nadi, considered to be the greatest fencer of all time – he died in his sleep.

“The early bird catches the worm.”

That’s great, but what if I want to be the worm in the scenario?  I guess there is no reward for being an early worm.  Sigh.

“Good things come to those who wait.”

I can wait around my whole life for that Audi to pull up in my driveway, but I’ve been told to work my butt off for the things I want.  This one should be labelled under “wishful thinking”.

“There’s a sucker born every minute.”

Nothing wrong with this one, but at the rate of the ever expanding population, it probably just needs to be updated immediately.

What about some that blatantly contradict each other?

“Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”


“Out of sight, out of mind.”

So, which one is it?  What a dilemma.

“Too many cooks spoil the broth.”


“Many hands make light work.”

What is the better choice?  I guess one panders to the lazy population!

Clearly I’ve taken the words out of context and completely skewed the important lessons they’ve been teaching for many, many years.  The truth is, all of these proverbs, sayings and idioms have a brilliant message behind their, sometimes convoluted words.  But there is nothing wrong with having a bit of fun with it.  🙂

  1. momfog says:

    No disclaimer necessary. I love pithy remarks but sometimes they don’t make any sense.

    “A problem shared is a problem halved.” Refer to your “What you don’t know can’t hurt you” argument. Shared, yes. But there’s no halfsies where that’s concerned.

    “A thing of beauty is a joy forever.” Whoever came up with this one obviously has never heard of Brigitte Bardot or Hollywood.

    “All you need is love.” And food. Water. Air.

  2. Sajeevs blog says:

    LOL! That’s a really humorous post on proverbs! Come to think of it, many of these proverbs can’t be taken seriously.

  3. That’s a clever idea 🙂 It definitely amused me.

  4. Kindred says:

    “The early bird may catch the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese”. Contradiction?

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