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Old school proverbs with modern slants

Updated on November 18, 2011

The other day my kids were asking me the meaning of this old saying: You can't teach an old dog new tricks. After explaining it to them I got to thinking about a lot of the old adages/proverbs I've heard over a lifetime. I came to the conclusion that while there is still wisdom to be found in a lot of these, some of the gems of wisdom just don't touch on today's most pertinent life issues at all. If we want our kids to be savvy about today's world just maybe it is time to breathe new life into the proverbs we pass on.

So I took the liberty of choosing some of the old proverbs and revamping with modern slants. Remember, that even as I don't agree with all old proverbs I certainly can't expect everyone to agree with my revamps. But who knows? You might just find one or two you can use.

Wise old owl
Wise old owl

Old school: What does not kill you makes you stronger.

Modern: That which makes you stronger will be regulated to death.

Old school: Pretty is as pretty does.

Modern: Ugly is as the reality show script calls for.

Old school: It is better to keep your silence and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.

Modern: It is without doubt Bill Maher keeps moistening lozenges on hand.

Old school: You can’t make a purse out of a sow’s ear.

Modern: The Home Shopping Network is selling sow ear purses!

Old school: There will be trouble if the cobbler starts making pies.

Modern: When the cobbler starts flipping burgers it’s called a Job Stimulus Act.

Old school: It’s the pampered dog that betrays the quickest.

Modern: It’s the pampered politician that betrays the quickest.

Old school: The best defense is a good offence.

Modern: The best defense is to dump the official emails into a private account.

Old school: Those who cheat the customer cheat themselves.

Modern: They’ll cheat the customer and charge them for the privilege.

Old school: There is nothing so bad that it may be of no use.

Modern: There is nothing so useful it can’t be condemned as a health hazard.

Old school: There may be snow on the roof but there’s fire in the furnace.

Modern: There may be Cialis in my blood stream but hauling two cast-iron tubs up the hill put my back out.

Old school: Don’t cast your pearls before the swine.

Modern: Don’t submit your personal info to Facebook.

Old school: Truth is stranger than fiction.

Modern: Fiction is the new truth.

Old school: Experience is the best teacher.

Modern: Inexperience is the crux of academia.

Old school: Better a distant good than a near evil.

Modern: Better a near treaty than another distant war.

Old school: A landlord’s pillow is stuffed with the tears of widows.

Modern: Bank of America’s vaults are stuffed with the tears of home owners.

Old school: A wart wrapped in a bow is still a wart.

Modern: Introducing the new Kardashian body-wrap bow!

Old school: Old habits die hard.

Modern: With a prescription to get you off the habit you can die faster.

Old school: Cheaters never prosper.

Modern: Cheaters ask for bail-outs.

Old school: Better an ass that carries me than a horse that throws me.

Modern: Better a bus that carries me than a TSA agent that fondles me.

Old school: If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.

Modern: If it ain’t broken, it must have been made in your grandparents’ day.

Old school: Misery loves company.

Modern: Misery gets blog hits.

Old school: Brilliance can don the humblest gown; mediocrity oftimes comes dressed an eyesore.

Modern: I’d intended to watch the awards show but as soon as Lady Gaga stepped on stage my eyeballs bled.

Old school: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Modern: An ounce of cure will be prevented from sale.

Old school: Do not trust Greeks bearing gifts.

Modern: Do not trust Greeks bearing Molotov cocktails.

Old school: Those who can do, those who can’t teach.

Modern: Those who can do, those who won’t Occupy.

Old school: The devil can quote Scripture for his own ends.

Modern: The devil can contribute to Wikipedia for his own ends.

Old school: A fool and his money are soon parted.

Modern: A fool and other people’s money are soon ordered to Congressional hearings.

Old school: A shrew in satin shoes is still a shrew.

Modern: A man in satin shoes is still a man but if he wants to be called a woman that’s the PC-approved thing to call him.

Old school: He who boasts of his accomplishments will heap ridicule on himself.

Modern: He who boasts of his accomplishments can usually be found trolling the bars.

Old school: Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.

Modern: Your sleepless nights are the pharmaceutical’s dreams come true.

Old school: Eager to divorce, eager to give ill-advice.

Modern: Eager to give ill-advice, all too easy to get talk show.

Old school: There are some who despise pride with a greater pride.

Modern: There are some pundits who point out despicable behavior with greater despicable behavior.

Old school: Charity begins at home.

Modern: Charity at home is now condemned as Non-intervention.

Old school: Old soldiers don’t die, they just fade away.

Modern: Old hippies don’t die they just linger on mercilessly in reruns of Family Ties.

Old school: He who sees evil in innocence does evil shamelessly.

Modern: She who sees evil in innocence represents many sexual harassment cases.

Old school: The bigger they are the harder they fall.

Modern: The lousier the music the harder it shakes the car.

Old school: Shrewd men rely on Religion in deciding their politics and on Science in selecting a mate.

Modern: You’ll never hear a woman cry “Oh, Science yes!!” in bed.

Old school: The end doesn’t justify the means.

Modern: The end doesn’t justify the means, only ratings do.

Old school: You can’t relive the past.

Modern: Your hard drive can relive your past.

Old school: The poorer the lover the more women he vilifies.

Modern: There's a reason they still stone women in some parts of the world.

Old school: Pay a good wage, keep a good worker.

Modern: Pay an extravagant salary and you’ll never get ‘em out of the Senate.

Old school: The purest meal makes the blandest cornbread.

Modern: The blandest school lunch is made by purist ideals.

Old school: A book worth reading survives the critics.

Modern: An author worth his craft survives the Amazon comments.

Old school: Common sense cannot be found on a braggart’s lips.

Modern: Common sense isn’t a requirement when running for office.

Old school: Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Modern: Absence in Aruba brings out a search party.

Old school: Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

Modern: Those who throw stones often live in Hollywood.

Old school: From young ewes and old rams are sturdy lambs born.

Modern: From hot teachers and healthy teen males are lucrative lawsuits born.

Old school: Too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the broth.

Modern: Too many spoiled cooks in a kitchen are the formula for a Bravo hit.

Old school: An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

Modern: New study claims apples full of health dangers.

Old school: It is easier to make a lady of a peasant-girl than a peasant-girl of a lady.

Modern: It is easier to use Photoshop than call in the make-up crew.

Old school: He loses his market who has only useless baubles to sell.

Modern: “Made In China”

Old school: Don’t sh*t where you live.

Modern: Sh*t where others have to pass through Wall Street to get to work.

Old school: Hell is for villains and run by landlords.

Modern: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac guaranteed the loan on Hell.

Old school: Monsters are not born they are molded.

Modern: Lawyers are not born, they take the elevator up from Hell.

Old school: The man who will not fight for love will never bear the badge of happiness.

Modern: The man who fights for love is pretty damned scarce these days.

Old school: The fox descends on the chickens while they look for the wolves not there.

Modern: Al Gore is at it again.

Old school: Be not quick to turn your back on the pleasures of life or you’ll never recognize them in the after life.

Modern: Somewhere in heaven there’s a vibrator with Christine O’Donnell’s name on it.

Old school: As useful as teats on a stud boar.

Modern: As useful as the unsubscribe link in a Ron Paul campaign email.

Old school: He’s as useful as a gigolo in a house full of Shakers.

Modern: He’s as useful as a gigolo at a Feminist convention.

Old school: As useful as throwing perfume on a skunk

Modern: As useful as throwing deodorant to the Wall Street protestors.

Old school: All that glitters is not gold.

Modern: What’s in the Federal Reserve is definitely not gold.

Old school: None of us are such close allies of the divine that we have the right to harm in the name of the divine..

Modern: For the sake of Science anything goes with scientists.

Old school: Better to light a candle than curse the darkness.

Modern: Might as well curse the darkness than expect the electric company to come out and fix the pole.

Old school: He with sour grapes drinks alone.

Modern: He with sour grapes comments as anonymous.

Old school: The inexperienced steed promenades in the mud the stud stallion avoids.

Modern: Justin Bieber’s in the news again.

Old school: Laughter is the best medicine.

Modern: The FDA will soon ban laughter.

Old school: The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Modern: The road to heaven is littered with many turnoffs to church parking lots.

Old school: All the world’s a stage.

Modern: All the world’s a sound-byte.

Old school: In matters of love, old maids offer the finest linen and the worst advice.

Modern: In matters of love, some will still seek out Oprah’s advice.


Old school: The business of legislating vice puts a halo on the devil.

Modern: Good grief, what’s the First Lady campaigning against this time?

Old school: A stitch in time saves nine.

Modern: A stitch in Taiwan lasts about two wears.

Old school: A place for everything and everything in its place.

Modern: A social network for everything and your every thing in China.

Old school: There is nothing new under the sun.

Modern: There is nothing new in Washington.

Old school: The chief objection of education is not to learn but to unlearn things.

Modern: The chief objection of education is not to learn but to unlearn things.

Old school: Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.

Modern: Idle hands receive corporate bonuses.

Old school: Foolish words survive the fool.

Modern: We’re thinking of calling the archives JoeBidenGaffesDot-Com.

Old school: The cream always floats to the top.

Modern: The dregs always top the charts.

Old school: Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

Modern: Keep your friends close and your enemies on Comment to be Approved.

©November 2011 by Beth Perry


Submit a Comment
  • multifunctions profile image

    Sanjay Sapre 

    6 years ago from India

    i admire your sense of humor and deep observation. I really enjoyed reading.

  • bethperry profile imageAUTHOR

    Beth Perry 

    7 years ago from Tennesee

    Aw, well thank you feenix. You just made my night!

  • feenix profile image


    7 years ago


    You are brilliant; a genius. I do believe that this is the most clever (or should I say, the cleverest?) post I have ever read on HubPages.

  • bethperry profile imageAUTHOR

    Beth Perry 

    7 years ago from Tennesee

    kittythedreamer, I appreciate that and glad you enjoyed. Thanks much :)

  • bethperry profile imageAUTHOR

    Beth Perry 

    7 years ago from Tennesee

    Dexter, ah that makes me feel so nice to hear. Thanks much!

  • bethperry profile imageAUTHOR

    Beth Perry 

    7 years ago from Tennesee

    Minnetonka Twin, thanks much!

  • kittythedreamer profile image

    Kitty Fields 

    7 years ago from Summerland

    Voted up, funny, and awesome! I especially like the "misery gets blog hits"! Too true, too true. You really crack me up, beth. Thanks for sharing your humor with us yet again!

  • Dexter Yarbrough profile image

    Dexter Yarbrough 

    7 years ago from United States

    Hi Beth! Your awesomeness shines through again! Voted up, up and away!

  • Minnetonka Twin profile image

    Linda Rogers 

    7 years ago from Minnesota

    I was laughing at many of them and nodding yes too many others. Great and creative hub. Very entertaining.

  • bethperry profile imageAUTHOR

    Beth Perry 

    7 years ago from Tennesee

    Thanks Alecia!

  • Alecia Murphy profile image

    Alecia Murphy 

    7 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

    Awesome hub, very funny and very true!

  • bethperry profile imageAUTHOR

    Beth Perry 

    7 years ago from Tennesee

    Thank you Will!

  • bethperry profile imageAUTHOR

    Beth Perry 

    7 years ago from Tennesee

    stclairjack, I think our grandpa's had a lot to say on the similar natures of boars and men/women :) (Though to be honest why on earth any male has teats is beyond me, lol) And yes you may share with a link, thank you!

  • bethperry profile imageAUTHOR

    Beth Perry 

    7 years ago from Tennesee

    rlaha, thanks and appreciate you dropping by!

  • WillStarr profile image


    7 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

    Heh, heh! Up and funny!

  • stclairjack profile image


    7 years ago from middle of freekin nowhere,... the sticks

    simply fabulous!,.... laughgasmic!

    it might interest you to know that my grandpa had a different twist on the teets of a boar hog,... he explained to me when i was just a wee lil'shit,... that teets on the boar hog were counted,.. you mated the boar with the most teets to the sow with the most teets to ensure breeding stock that would have plenty of teets to nurse a large litter of piglets,....

    nuns on the other hand,... they had tits of no use,... they didn't have children, and my grandpa couldn't play with 'em,... so they were useless,...

    so grandpa would always say somethin' was as useless as tits on a nun.

    your welcome,.....

    and thank you for this,.... wonderful,.... i'm sharing you to my FB page,.... may plagerise you as long as i include the link?

  • rlaha profile image


    7 years ago from Spartanburg, SC

    That is actually true! The old school adages have completely different meanings nowadays, and it's interesting as to how people perceive them! Thanks for the hub!


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