Adages, adages, we all fall down

Editor's Note: Brian Golden is a former reporter and managing editor at The Evening Sun and continues to write a (sometimes) weekly column for various publications both online and in print across upstate New York.

By Brian Golden

Simple Things

All good things come to those who wait ... a fool and his money are soon parted ... that which does not kill you only makes you stronger ... birds of a feather flock together ... opposites attract ... the clothes make the man ... the early bird gets the worm ... you get the drift.

I have never understood society's fascination with the adage. You know, those traditional sayings that (supposedly, according to the dictionary) express a common experience or observation. The term itself is Old French, taken from the Latin adagium, and should not be confused with similar terms such as the aphorism, apothegm, axiom, maxim or proverb ... or so a quick Google search tells me.

Personally, it seems a matter of opinion. All good things come to those who wait? Well, that's just great. I've been waiting for several quite specific "good things" for awhile now and have ... well, not much to show for it. And just how long is a guy supposed to wait for something good when he could simply go out and get it? Then again, better late than never, right?

Or how about "that which does not kill you only makes you stronger?" It's without a doubt a favorite of mine, if for no other reason than it kicks off John Milius' "Conan the Barbarian," starring none other than the Governator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

By the way, did anyone see those truly bizarre Arnold-as-a-table-tennis-pro commercials on Sunday? I heard the body builder-turned-actor-turned-politician-turned-actor made something like $3 or $4 million for those (with more to come during the upcoming Super Bowl). I suppose he needs the money, though.

And what about "opposites attract?" If a guy is poor, ugly, short and fat does that mean a tall, beautiful, wealthy woman is just around the corner? But I thought I wasn't supposed to judge a book by its cover? Oh well, what you don't know can't hurt you and ... hey, nothing ventured, nothing gained. And never look a gift horse in the mouth, you poor, old (and don't forget destitute) guy, the best things in life are free.

Oh no, there I go again, channeling my inner George Carlin. I forgot I'm not supposed to use terms such as poor or ugly. Instead, to be politically correct, of course, the aforementioned gentleman would be described as underprivileged, homely, vertically challenged and overweight. Hey, nobody's perfect, cut me some slack.

Which brings up another good point; at no time in this day and age - or so it seems - is it possible for one to write, say or do anything without being lambasted by someone with nothing better to do than find fault with ... well, just about anything. Just remember that two wrongs don't make a right and - no matter who you are or what you believe - don't forget to stop and smell the roses once in awhile.

Back to adages, before I write something truly offensive, what about "a rolling stone gathers no moss?" Has that been scientifically proven in any way? Granted, I realize your typical adage is in no way based on the fundamental precepts of science, but hey, there are lots out there that make perfect sense: practice makes perfect, you are never too old to learn, and two heads are better than one immediately spring to mind. Then again, that (seemingly) never ending list of adages also includes: you can't teach an old dog new tricks (never believed it, not even for a minute), he who hesitates is lost (not true, I hesitated just a moment ago and I know right where I am ... at least I think so), many hands make light work (totally false if those hands happen to be idle) and you can't have your cake and eat it too (I have and probably will again).

My point? People shouldn't take everything so damn serious (see literal) all the time. A fair portion of this very column is meant to be taken with a grain of salt if you get my meaning and written in no way with the intention of being offensive, although Im sure someone out there will find it so.

Regardless, dont forget to strike while the iron is hot (sounds painful); look before you leap; measure twice, cut once; a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush; and most importantly dont count your chickens before they hatch.

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