Humans are bundles of contradictions who do and say things with little thought or understanding of the illogic involved. It is not part of Shakespeare’s observation, “What a piece of work is a man…” but should be.
Of course, few express ideas about people and their behavior with greater precision than Shakespeare. Most people use phrases, sayings and words without knowing what they mean. For example, what does “A pig in a poke” mean?
In medieval England people selling piglets would occasionally substitute a cat. The deception was “A pig in a poke” because a poke was a bag. Later when the poke was opened “The cat was out of the bag”. No wonder people have a hard time learning or understanding English, but then paradoxically it is the diversity and flexibility of the language that makes it so pervasive and adaptable.
Of course things are complicated in today’s world of spin doctoring, or more precisely professional deception. As a friend of mine said after finally being served expensive quiche in a fancy restaurant, “It’s my Mum’s egg and bacon pie.”
Part of the adaptability is the ability to create new words, observations, phrases or sayings called aphorisms. They are defined as “A pithy observation that contains a general truth” such as “the person who laughs last, laughs loudest.” I hope some I created under the title, “It occurred to me” bring a smile. Here are a few to start. I will add more in future columns.
- - Academic Elizabethan gowns show universities are medieval institutions being dragged kicking and screaming into the 17th century.
- - When the call centre message says “All our assistants are busy,” what they really mean is “We don’t have enough staff.”
- - When the call centre message says “Your call may be recorded for quality control,” they really mean we are covering our legal backsides.
- - The tail always wagged the dog: Now, because of political correctness, the flea on the hair on the tail wags the dog.
- - Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words hurt more, which is why the pen is mightier than the sword.
- - Young men have so lost direction that they have their caps on backwards.
- - Household Mathematics: Three bags of groceries in, four bags of garbage out.
- - If you use a cell phone in public, please use the speaker facility so I can hear both sides of the conversation.
- - Every saying has a contradictory saying except “ignorance is bliss”.
- - In today’s hurried world, people rush home to sit down put their feet up and say “What will I do now?”
- - To avoid political correctness and say what they really think people say, let me play Devil’s Advocate.
- - They say, incorrectly, that one person cannot change the world. Unfortunately, it is almost always for the worse.
- - Global warming is another undelivered government promise.
- - Who created the God particle?
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