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Let's Have Fun with Klingon Proverbs

Updated on June 2, 2010
Live long and propser! Whoops, wrong nerdy empire.
Live long and propser! Whoops, wrong nerdy empire.

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?
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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    • Arthur Windermere profile image

      Arthur Windermere 6 years ago

      Hey Handsome,

      Thanks for the kind words. Glad you enjoyed the hub.

      My 'serious' conclusion is based on what I've seen of the various TV series, esp. Next Generation, and the book I'm commentating on here. I see nothing in the above proverbs to question my conclusion. They show none of the depth and richness of Hebrew and Persian proverbs. I may be wrong about Klingon culture, but that's not reflected in this one silly book I found. I'm glad it's not, though, because it wouldn't have been nearly so entertaining otherwise.


    • profile image

      tlhIngan ghojwI' 6 years ago

      I can appreciate the humour in this hub. I understand that some of the proverbs are interesting and almost anything can be ridiculed. My only problem is that you seemed incredibly serious in your little conclusion thing and I have to say that I completely disagree with your assessment. Just because you cannot put yourself into the shoes of a Klingon does not mean that the proverbs here do not do exactly the same thing that many human proverbs do. The proverbs are very reminiscent of the Klingon culture. I also would challenge the assertion that Klingons are a one-dimensional race. You clearly have never heard any of the audio cassettes and never seriously read any of the material. In conclusion, I appreciate your humour and can get a good laugh. However, I disagree with and am almost offended by your disparagement of the Klingon culture and those that created it.

    • profile image

      Qov 7 years ago

      The secret to the Klingon proverb book is not the proverbs, but the fact that THE Marc Okrand is the one who created the Klingon language in the first place, and he used the book of proverbs to give examples that just happened to flesh out needed vocabulary and grammar for the language. The entire thing is an in-joke for the Klingon Language Institute.

    • Arthur Windermere profile image

      Arthur Windermere 7 years ago

      Hey Chris,

      Thanks for dropping by with your great comments. You're like epigramman and nellieanna combined.

      Uranus jokes never get old. Seriously.


    • Christopher Price profile image

      Christopher Price 7 years ago from Vermont, USA

      Arthur, it's great humorous hubs like this one that are making your pages a regular destination for me.

      You turned the Klingon Proverbs from inane to funny.

      BTW, do you know the best way to get laugh-snorted Romulan Ale out of a keyboard? I misplaced my Tribble-Sham and as you know it's bad form to sip Romulan Ale through a straw.

      Oh, drbj forgot to sufficiently warn you about the possibility of incurring the wrath of thin-skinned Klingons. Locking doors is pointless when they can transport into your room.

      But never fear...they seldom brave Earth's orbit, BECAUSE...everyone knows Klingons are circling Uranus!

      Dude...I just couldn't help myself.


    • Arthur Windermere profile image

      Arthur Windermere 7 years ago

      Hey Rasenstars1,

      I welcome a true Trekkie (capital T, in honour) to this hub. Thanks for dropping by and I'm glad you enjoyed the humour.

      Live long and prosper!

    • rasenstars1 profile image

      rasenstars1 7 years ago

      I am proudly a trekkie, and a trekker. My husband is a trekkie, we love the klingons, though I am glad that we never got into it so much that we bought all of the books. That one sounds particularly bad. Thanks for the alert. And enjoyed the jokes.

    • Arthur Windermere profile image

      Arthur Windermere 7 years ago

      Hey SilverGenes,

      Uh-huh, 'people', because you don't secretly have your basement re-modeled to look like the bridge of the Enterprise, right? ;)

      Thanks for dropping by.


    • profile image

      SilverGenes 7 years ago

      I'm sorry to hear it's out of print. Seriously. I can think of people for whom it would make an excellent gag-gift during the Festival of Vulcan. Okay.. just kidding.

      "I am not a merry man. (206)

      The Sheriff of Nottingham thinks you're lying."

      Now that is priceless! Thank you! :))

    • Arthur Windermere profile image

      Arthur Windermere 7 years ago

      Hi Brian,

      I don't think you have to worry about Klingon becoming a global language. Only a dozen people know it, and they'll never have sex--ever. So it'll die out.

      I'm stickin' with English, buddy. Sorry. 1 million+ words puts English three times beyond the second largest language (French). Vocabulary is everything--Mark Twain said so.


    • profile image

      Brian Barker 7 years ago

      I like neither Na'vi nor Klingon, as the future global language. Especially when you have to dress up for it :)

      We also need a future international language. One which is easy to learn, as well !

      And that's not English! Esperanto? Let's move forward :)

      At least Bill Shatner speaks Esperanto.

    • Arthur Windermere profile image

      Arthur Windermere 7 years ago

      Hey CM!

      Perhaps the publisher knew there are enough nerds who'd have to have a copy. For ever Confederacy of Dunces that takes 10 years to get published, there are a dozen Klingon Ways that have no trouble at all. haha

      At any rate, The Klingon Way is sadly out of print now.


    • CMHypno profile image

      CMHypno 7 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

      Thanks for the education on Klingon proverbs, Arthur. The mind-boggling thing is that this guy actually found a publisher and presumably is selling copies!

    • Arthur Windermere profile image

      Arthur Windermere 7 years ago

      Hey CollegeKid!

      Glad you enjoyed the hub. Hope your dad does too. I wish my family had more nerd. They know more about beer and trucks than they do about how Wesley Crusher's experiment with nanoprobes caused the Enterprise to be taken over by artificial life. ;)


    • Arthur Windermere profile image

      Arthur Windermere 7 years ago

      Hey Nellie!

      haha Klingons only die in battle, I suppose. I think that's the implication. I guess they missed the part where that also implies they lose a lot.

      Knowing about Star Trek has never been associated with coolness, so your coolness is quite intact. hehe


    • WoesOfACollegeKid profile image

      WoesOfACollegeKid 7 years ago

      So funny... Thanks, Arthur. Great Hub. I'm definitely going to send a link to my dad, whose inner Trekkie emerges whenever he gets together with his brothers. Family reunions reek of nerdiness, but I wouldn't have it any other way :)

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 7 years ago from TEXAS

      If there are no old or sick Klingons, would it mean they die from illnesses and old age? hahaha.

      This is hilarious, Arthur, though my brush with Klingons came too late in life to "take". I suppose that's obvious. ;}

      I make no apologies or excuses. Good to hear about it in retrospect though. That way I needn't pretend to be cool in this department.

    • Arthur Windermere profile image

      Arthur Windermere 7 years ago

      Haha have some gagh on me and don't mind the glob flies.


    • Shinkicker profile image

      Shinkicker 7 years ago from Scotland

      Great Hub Arthur

      The Klingon way is a righteous path :-)

    • Arthur Windermere profile image

      Arthur Windermere 7 years ago

      Oh, okay. Well, you're still cool in my books.


    • Green Lotus profile image

      Hillary 7 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Whoa no. Never had that opportunity to write SF TV scripts. Mostly movie entertainment, food, home and garden and history stuff.

    • Arthur Windermere profile image

      Arthur Windermere 7 years ago

      Hey Mike!

      LOL I love that chess anecdote. Clearly a man who had studied The Klingon Way.

      Oh, and that Ferrengi exhibit gives me an idea. I'm gonna have to look up Ferrengi proverbs, so we can get a sequel to this hub. They'll all have to do with making money, I imagine. Just like Klingon proverbs are all about killing things and being tough. Real cultures have, y'know, more than one facet to their existence. hehe


    • Arthur Windermere profile image

      Arthur Windermere 7 years ago

      A true Trekkie knows there are two 'k's in Trekkie. hahaha

      Hey Green Lotus! Thanks for reading. I'm a fan of Star Trek myself. Some of it, anyway. But this Klingon business gives normal Trek fans a bad name. Time they get what's coming to them. hehe

      You mention in your bio you wrote for television. Did you ever write for Star Trek?

    • Mike Lickteig profile image

      Mike Lickteig 7 years ago from Lawrence KS USA

      I had a Klingon tell me he didn't understand chess because the object of capturing an enemy was foreign to Klingons. Yup, I was at a Star Trek exhibit in Las Vegas, populated by Klingons and Ferrengi.

      This was hysterically funny, and I guess when one considers that revenge is the best revenge, well--that must be why they call it revenge (because it is?!). I enjoyed your remarks.

      I also found your admission that proverbs from real cultures were a whole different ball game and near-impossible to ridicule quite interesting. I never gave it much thought before, but I see what you're saying. A true proverb, based upon something real, might actually offer some wisdom. A "they start filming tomorrow and this script doesn't sound Klingonny (Klingonnish?) enough" could never do that, unless it was a proverb about desperation.

      Thanks for the chuckle.


    • Green Lotus profile image

      Hillary 7 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      One of your best AW..your commentary is priceless. As a sort-of trekie myself I applaud all trashings of Klingon culture.

    • Arthur Windermere profile image

      Arthur Windermere 7 years ago

      Hey Doc,

      Pimping your hubs, are you? hehe okay, I'll be sure to check that one out. If it's funny enough, I'll link to it. And thanks for checking in. Glad you enjoyed my gentle mockery.


    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 7 years ago from south Florida

      Lampooning Klingon culture may be dangerous to your health, Arthur. Keep your doors and windows locked - just in case.

      Enjoyed your funny translations. If you would like to see more funny translations of common proverbs used in the U.S., hike on over to my hub and read "Popular Proverbs Interpreted."