Popular Proverbs Interpreted

Oops! I thought I heard toucan.
Oops! I thought I heard toucan.

Popular Proverbs Interpreted

What is a proverb? It is a short and generally well-known over-used statement that provides a general truth or gives advice. Here's an example: "There's no fool like an old fool." Now this proverb is clearly ageist. What about young fools and middle-aged fools? So in the interest of clarification and to help Hubbers and Bloggers avoid these trite cliches, here are my singular interpretations of various ambiguous proverbs.

Two can live as cheaply as one. . . If one doesn’t eat.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. . . Isn’t that canceled by:”Out of sight, out of mind?”

All good things come to those who wait. . . Arthritis, heart disease, rheumatism, ddiabetes, clogged arteries, etc., etc.

All that glitters is not gold. . . It’s probably cubic zirconium.

Accidents will happen. . . Some people just refuse to take responsibility.

Actions speak louder than words. . . Words don’t speak. People speak.

All cats are grey in the dark. . . How do you know that if it’s dark?

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. . . But it feeds his family and pays the rent.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away. . . So does failing to pay your doctor bill.

Your home is your castle. . . You wouldn’t say that if you had seen some of the homes I’ve seen.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. . . How do you measure either one?

Any time means no time. . . Same meaning as some time as in, “Call me some time.”

April showers bring May flowers. . . Also weeds and crabgrass.

A bird in hand is worth two in a bush. . . It can also be very messy.

A friend in need is a friend indeed. . . No, a friend in need is a pest.

A man is as old as he feels himself to be. . . Which part of himself is he feeling?

A new broom sweeps clean. . . Where can I buy one of those automatic new brooms?

One rotten apple spoils the barrel. . . What does it do? Buy all the other apples presents?

Better late than never. . . Unless it’s your wedding day.

Dead men tell no tales. . . How do we know? Would you stick around to listen?

Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise. . . And devoid of social companionship.

Keep your cotton-picking hands off my ears!
Keep your cotton-picking hands off my ears!

You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. . . Why would you want to?

A man is known by the company he keeps. . . And in today’s world, most men wish the company would keep them.

Every cloud has a silver lining. . . You know this first-hand?

Experience is the father of wisdom. . . And the mother of judgment.

First come, first served. . . True at any crowded restaurant.

Great minds think alike. . . If everyone is thinking alike, then no one is really thinking.

He who hesitates is lost. . . Mae West said he who hesitates is last.

He laughs best who laughs last. . . And he who laughs, lasts.

Ignorance is bliss. . . How can it be bliss when ignorance is no excuse?

In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is a king. . . And the two-eyed man is a god.

Knowledge is power. . . Amen!

Do not kill the goose that lays the golden egg. . . Find a gander for it, quickly.

Laughter is the best medicine. . . After you have taken your antibiotics.

Lightning never strikes in the same place twice . . It does In Florida.

Marry in haste, repent at leisure. . . Is that why they say “I do” is the longest sentence?

Money doesn't grow on trees. . . You won’t find any on bushes, shrubs or vines either.

Money is the root of all evil. . . Let’s plant some and really find out.

Never put off till tomorrow what can be done today. . . Don’t wait till tomorrow. Put it off today.

Nobody is perfect. . . Except thee and me. And sometimes I’m not so sure about thee.

One good turn deserves another. . . But one really good turn gets most of the blanket.

One man's trash is another man's treasure. . . The reason why flea markets are so popular.

People who live in glass houses should not throw stones. . . Nor walk around undressed.

Snug as a bug in a rug. . . How do we know that a bug in a rug is snug? Has any bug told us so?

It takes so little to make me happy.
It takes so little to make me happy.

Laughable Stories

When the cat is away, the mice will play. . . Poker? Gin? Monopoly?

You are what you eat. . . I’m a chocolate bar?

Sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me. . . Unless it’s slander; then I’ll sue you.

When in Rome, do as the Romans do. . . Speak Italian?

A stitch in time saves nine. . . Saves nine what?

The end justifies the means. . . Sounds like the slogan of today’s Democrats .

The first step is the hardest. . . Especially if it’s over a cliff.

The pen is mightier than the sword. . . Unless you happen to be in a sword fight.

The truth is in the wine. . . But liquor is quicker (Ogden Nash).

There is a trick in every trade. . . And in every “red-light” district, too.

There is safety in numbers. . . Unless the numbers are enemies.

To err is human, to forgive divine. . . To forget, impossible.

Variety is the spice of life. . . Isn’t that a Mormon motto?

The walls have ears. . . Of course they do. They contain microphones and listening devices.

Where there's a will, there's a way. . . As well as a number of anxious heirs.

You can't teach an old dog new tricks. . . Au contraire. old dogs already know all the tricks.

You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours. . . If you don’t mind, I would prefer a massage.

The early bird catches the worm. . . But it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese.

Home is where the heart is. . . Isn’t that canceled by “Familiarity breeds contempt”?

Look before you leap. . . And always, always wear your parachute!

Loose lips sink ships. . . Torpedoes do a better job.

Copyright BJ Rakow Ph.D. 2010, 2011. All rights reserved Author, Much of What You Know about Job Search Just Ain't So.

Readers of my book say it enabled them to write a dynamic resume and cover letter, network effectively, interview professionally, and negotiate assertively. Includes a must-read chapter for older workers.


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Comments 51 comments

Green Lotus profile image

Green Lotus 6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

Brilliant and bookmarked for when I need another good laugh! Thanks drbj!


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 6 years ago from USA

Hi Doc bj - Good ones! There was a kid back in grade school who used to change the wording of such things, like "All's well that ends" and "He who laughs last doesn't catch on too quickly." Had a lab boss one time who gave this advice - "When in doubt, throw it out." He had more, but the wording of those is unsuitable for this place.

Gus ;)


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Thank you, Green Lotus, it's my pleasure.

I've learned that it's easier and more rewarding to see the funny side of life so I do. And I see humor in almost every situation.

But the most rewarding for me is when I can share what I think is humorous with someone else. So thanks again for the kind comment.


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Glad you liked them, Gus.

Both the grade school kid and the lab boss obviously had a highly elevated sense of humor and higher than average intelligence.

Like thee and me! As well as humility.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago

A brilliant performance. I truly enjoyed each and every one. I was going to point out a couple favorites early on but then they came to be too many. Thank you for the pleasure.


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

It was my pleasure, James.

Praise from you, a passionate, prolific, persuasive hubber is praise indeed.

I was going to add perceptive, too, but thought that might be over the top. Then again, yes, perceptive, too.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago

I enjoyed the alliteration. You could have kept going. :D


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

I will, James, only on one of your hubs. Cheers.


Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 6 years ago from India

Most entertaining! And it looks like I'm a chocolate bar too. Or wait...should that be lasagna? Oh, what the heck...any food! :D


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, Feline Prophet. Love your avatar. We have a lot in common. I'm a chocoholic, too. And lasagna is one of my favorite foods.

Thanks for stopping by and the "entertaining" comment. Visit any time.


kaltopsyd profile image

kaltopsyd 6 years ago from Trinidad originally, but now in the USA

This is great. I especially like: "All that glitters is not gold. . . It’s probably cubic zirconium" & "A friend in need is a friend indeed. . . No, a friend in need is a pest." Haha. That was so funny. Thanks for the laughs.


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Any time, kaltopsyd, any time. I am intrigued by your avatar name and graphic. Will drop by to learn more.

Take a look at my 5 Crazy Laws hubs if you would like more laughs. No charge.


Arthur Windermere profile image

Arthur Windermere 6 years ago

Hey Doc,

These are great! Some of them really made me laugh. I'm pleased to see them turned inside-out, because I'm one of those people who always messes them up, like a Shakespearean constable. I remember leaning to a friend in a place that I felt wasn't very private and in all seriousness whispering to him, "The ears have walls." And I always, always, say "a bird in the bush is worth two in the hand." So it's time they get what's coming to them.

“Dad always thought laughter was the best medicine, which I guess is why several of us died of tuberculosis.” - Jack Handey


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Thank you, Arthur, I'm delighted I made you laugh. One of my favorite things to do. I knew somehow these "proverbs" would tickle your funnybone.

Thanks for the 'best medicine' line - I will probably use it somewhere somehow someway.


gpinheiro profile image

gpinheiro 6 years ago from Portugal

Great Hub! Good Hub!

I was joking, as I had the pleasure to read this hub after reading yours about comments. I really loved it and laughed a lot. Sorry for not saying a lot, but as I am not an English native speaker I have some difficulties in expressing my thoughts and ideas.


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, gpinheiro, how nice to hear from you again. I knew you were joking and I do appreciate it. Especially since you said you were, but then again two short 2-word comments are better than none.

Delighted you enjoyed laughing as you read these proverbs. I was laughing hysterically all by myself as I was writing them. Good thing no one was here to hear me.

No apology needed. If you ever heard me trying to communicate in Spanish, Portuguese or Italian, you would die laughing. But that's a different story. Maybe I'll write a hub about that.


suny51 profile image

suny51 6 years ago

You may be sued for not paying entertainment tax.


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, suny51, as soon as you pay your cover charge, I'll pay the entertainment tax.

What a creative comment! Thank you.


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

Love the way you think! Thanks for the giggles!


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Habee, giggles are my favorite thing to provide. Also chuckles. Sometimes guffaws. Even snickers are OK. (Chocolate or otherwise). You're welcome.


gpinheiro profile image

gpinheiro 6 years ago from Portugal

Drbj

I will be waiting for your hub on the difficulties in communicating in Spanish, Portuguese or Italian. I am sure it will be worthwhile waiting!


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

What a sweetheart you are, gph. I will write one but in the meantime you may want to read the "Tale of Two Cocks" in which I tried to communicate only in Spanish.

Google has flagged it - they must think it means something else. But it's all very innocent, I assure you.


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 6 years ago from California Gold Country

I like the way you think, but one suggestion: The rooster isn't going to like your goose, you need a gander.


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Aha - that's why I'm not raising any little gooses - I mean, geeses - I mean lil babies.

Thanks for the animal husbandry tip, Rochelle, I sit corrected. Wanna buy a rooster?


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 6 years ago from California Gold Country

No thanks-- Got rid of the Rooster last year. The two hens are very quiet and respectful. Just regular eggs, though.


Petra Vlah profile image

Petra Vlah 6 years ago from Los Angeles

I also wonder about Thee's perfection, but never doubt yours. Your humor is priceless!


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, Petra - so good to see you here.

My humor is pricelsss, eh? Is that a good thing? If it's priceless you cannot put a price on it. If you cannot put a price on it, you cannot sell it. So I'm doomed to go through life with unsold humor. Sorry, I really love the comment; just got carried away.


Simple Tim profile image

Simple Tim 6 years ago

What a gem of a hub tucked away drbj!full of your usual wit,-) too! I would never have seen it if it were not for that bright Toucan!

Knowledge is power. . . Amen! indeed!


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, Tim. I'm delighted you discovered the toucan and my "usual wit." You are spot on with knowledge is power. That's one of my favorite aphorisms. The second is: "He who laughs . . . lasts!


Wanderlust profile image

Wanderlust 6 years ago from New York City

Absolutely fantastic! How come I haven't seen this hub before.... You have absolutely lovely and sophisticated sense of humor and great writing skills! Thank you for making me laugh x


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Oh, Wanderlust, you may become one of my BFFs. If I could blush at your lovely and most gracious comments, all true, of course, I would. But I'm long past the blushing stage.

You are most welcome; it is entirely my pleasure. Making you and others laugh is one of my favorite things to do. For a few more laughs, take a look at my 5 hubs on Crazy Laws.


Rebecca E. profile image

Rebecca E. 6 years ago from Canada

I needed my laugh for teh day, this is drbj at her finest, I lvoe it. lol!


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Becca, I think you are working just too hard. I know that because when you begin to get tired you often write "the" in a more creative manner. But that's fine with me cause I've learned what "lvoe" means. Same to you, m'dear

Happy to give you a laugh whenever you need it. Just ask.


artfux profile image

artfux 5 years ago from Novato, CA

The meaning was dissected and interpreted, interesting. The internal parts lost the original meaning now, but the humor and irony was greatly lived. Excellent companion was added, with your words. I enjoyed it.


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

What lovely, literate comments, artfux, thank you.

But why does one with such a sensitive-seeming soul as yours want to utilize an avatar name with apparent inherent crudity therein? Curious, but perhaps I'm mistaken.


debbiesdailyviews profile image

debbiesdailyviews 5 years ago

I came, I saw, and I am enthral'd.

Many titter's to you heehee teehee.

Not only did I absolutly love your hub, and see although I am on the same wave length as you, you soar above me, and I accept that happily.

I also love as much your comment replies.

You have great tallent, and lovely manners.

Go forth my son and conqure.

That's how much I value you. I usualy say go forth and multiply, or follow olive oops

You bring out the worst in me, because I know you have a great sence of humour.: ]


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Oh, debbie, I love that! You came, you saw and you are enthralled! Thank you, that's my fave comment of the day.

I especially enjoy that you enjoyed my replies to comments. As I have pointed out in my hub, "Comments and Traffic," comments beget comments which beget comments, etc. and as an added incentive, increase traffic.

Wow, "great talent and lovely manners" - my mother would love you for that.

And I always say it takes one to know one - speaking of a great sense of humor, that is.


lex123 profile image

lex123 5 years ago

Very interesting and entertaining. Any one who needs a good laugh this hub will serve the purpose. I appreciate your humerous way of writing, whatever subject you choose.


attemptedhumour profile image

attemptedhumour 5 years ago from Australia

Another comprehensively covered topic, very funny and well put together. Cheers.


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Welcome, lex123 - it's my pleasure to see you here. Especially since you find my hub "interesting and entertaining." Providing laughter is one of my favorite avocations. And often, my vocation, too.

I appreciate you for appreciating my "humorous way of writing ... whatever subject." I could not have said it better myself. And I probably will! :)


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Hello, ah, Cheers backatcha for your gracious comments:

"comprehensively covered, very funny and well put together." You must have been communicating with lex123.

Thank you for making this complimentary pit-stop.


Sweetsusieg profile image

Sweetsusieg 5 years ago from Michigan

I tried picking out the best but dang it they were all good!! Just sat here laughing instead!

As I was reading this my daughter asked "What does 'Humor me' mean?" I told her, "just sit there while I laugh at you." Come on, I know you have something better hidden under your Babushka!

Great stuff!!


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Oh, susie, how I love reading your comments. You are funny and truthful and 'out there'. Don't ever change.

Delighted my proverbs and interpretations handed you a laugh or two - it's what I love to do.

Thanks for the 'Great stuff.'


Ingenira profile image

Ingenira 5 years ago

These are awesome and funny. I had a good laugh ! Good ones, drbj !


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Thank you, Ingenira, for stopping by. Do appreciate it. And thanks for the awesome and funny comments. It is definitely my pleasure to give you a good laugh.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 5 years ago from Nashville Tn.

It took me 5 minutes to read - and an entire hour to stop laughing! For example, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away. . . So does failing to pay your doctor bill." This is by far the best "laughter" hub on the net. I really, really, really needed this, as I am on my way to see the endodonist to have a tooth extraction and am scared to death! So, I just printed this out and am taking it with me...as laughter is the best medicine (proverb for you to add to your list). You are so darn talented and intelligent on a level the rest of us can never reach. Book marked this - I love, love, love it!!!


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Audrey, sweetie, you always know the right things to say. Thank you, thank you for laughing and for the lovely - all absolutely true of course - comments. I hope the funnies kept you from being too scared of the tooth extraction. (Probably makes more sense to be scared of the dentist.)

No, just foolin'. Dentists have their place. They just won't stay in those institutions.

But like many other things, they do come in handy when a pliers and a string tied to your tooth and a handy doorknob just won't work. (Hint: the door must open outward, not inward.)

Thanks again for these beautiful comments - love you for loving them!


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 4 years ago from California Gold Country

This is very comprehensive. We used some of the same ones,but you covered it so much better. (I thought the Romans spoke Latin.)


drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Thank you, Rochelle, for making the trip. True, we both chose some of the same best proverbs. What's that saying about great minds ... ?

You are correct, ancient Romans spoke Latin. I'm referring to present-day Rome.


50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 4 years ago from Arizona

drbj, excellently fun and funny read, you've added some view to the wall of windows, thanks,

Peace 50


drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, 50, so glad to see you here and that you found this fun and funny. Delighted to add some view to the wall of windows. What an interesting comment! Thank you.

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