Let's Have Fun with Klingon Proverbs
The Klingon Way
I was wandering through the local bookstore, with no real aim other than stimulating my thought with the backs of books and the backsides of the ladies, when I noticed an anomaly in the space-time continuum. It seems a blackhole of sorts had opened up in one of the shelves. Not a physical blackhole, but a blackhole of nerddom. This blackhole was sucking in all coolness and twisting it into eldritch, nerdish shapes around it. That blackhole was this little masterpiece of utterly useless scholarship, The Klingon Way: A Warrior's Guide, by Marc Okrand. Yeah, THE Marc Okrand. Never heard of him? Me neither.
The Klingon Way is full of Klingon proverbs. Reading them was a riot. Sure, holding the blackhole of nerd in my very hands meant I became allergic to all hot girls for the day, but it was totally worth it. For once I really felt I was getting into the mind and interior conflicts Commander Warf must have endured when he joined Star Fle--uh, I mean, it was a hilarious insight into nerdy thinking about a totally fictitious empire.
Let's have a look at some of them proverbs, my readers, with commentary by the great sage of mighty Earth, Arthur Windermere.
All Klingon proverbs are in italics. My comments are not. The page number is in brackets.
If you are sad, act! (8)
Advice from the Klingon School of Musical Theatre.
Klingons do not procrastinate. (9)
Also, Klingons do not go to college.
When in doubt, surprise them. (25)
Klingon birthday party advice, no doubt.
In space, all warriors are cold warriors. (33)
What? What's a 'cold warrior'? And aren't we always in space?
There are no old warriors. (29)
Just cold ones. In space.
Klingons do not get sick. (40)
Either this is a biological fact, or the Klingon Warrior is expected to engage the virus in hand-to-hand combat.
Klingons do not lie in bed. (40)
Also, Klingons are never teenagers.
If you cannot fail, you cannot succeed. (56)
Hum. This one's kinda deep, actually.
To really succeed, you must enjoy eating poison. (73)
This is what they don't teach you at the Harvard School of Business.
Navigate your vessel alone. (63)
I'm pretty sure this means 'masturbate.' But I could be wrong.
There is no honour in attacking the weak. (24)
But it's still really, really fun.
Pay no heed to glob flies. (171)
I think 'glob flies' is Klingon for 'Mormons'.
Capture all opportunities. (51)
I'm pretty sure that'd get you arrested.
A leader must stand alone. (63)
Then who exactly is he leading?
Death is an experience best shared. (73)
The murder-suicide philosophy of life.
Stop talking! Drink! (87)
I didn't know my grandfather was a Klingon.
Shooting space garbage is no test of a warrior's mettle. (104)
I have to agree.
Tickle us, do we not laugh?
Prick us, de we not bleed?
Wrong us, shall we not seek revenge? (131)
Ask us, have we not read The Merchant of Venice?
He doesn't eat gagh! (137)
Nowhere than in the Klingon Empire is Pepsi's marketing strategies so aggressive.
The hunter does not lie down with the prey. (161)
Damn, I thought that was the whole point.
To find ale, go into a bar. (181)
Klingon proverbs also serve as Tourist Information.
Care about your students. (199)
But don't touch. Simmons was fired for that.
No enemy is boring. (201)
They must not have Creationists on Klingon.
I am not a merry man. (206)
The Sheriff of Nottingham thinks you're lying.
The Ultimate Proverb
Okay, gird thy loins my children, because here is the single greatest piece of Klingon wisdom, possibly the most inane bit of wisdom ever put to page. If you have a pacemaker, I advise you to look away. If you've ever suffered incontinence, please be ready for some wetness. Here it comes:
Revenge is the best revenge.
Some sort of conclusion...
The point of this hub isn't just to laugh at invented Klingon culture. Okay, well, maybe it was. But there's something interesting here. Just as invented languages are comparatively sterile, invented proverbs are missing something essential. Even if the inventers of Klingon culture--the various writers of Star Trek material--are incredibly imaginative, they cannot imagine a total lived experience. I looked up proverbs of real cultures in preparation for this hub, because I had planned to ridicule proverbs in general. But I found Persian proverbs, for instance, to be nearly immune to ridicule. They arose from the lived experience of a real culture. A Persian dude didn't just sit down and come up with them. Klingon can't be a lived culture, so the proverbs seem foolish and are particularly susceptible to ridicule from people like me. They aren't prudential directives derived from experience, but a writer's attempt to express in proverb form the traits, or rather single trait, this utterly one-dimensional culture is supposed to have.
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