Our Daily Bleg: Got Anything Else Like “Sh*t Happens”?

Here’s the most recent guest bleg from Fred Shapiro, editor of the Yale Book of Quotations. His past blegs can be found here.

Last week about 100 people responded to my blegging for examples of famous computer proverbs. In general, proverb dictionaries are filled with traditional sayings like “A stitch in time saves nine,” ignoring modern proverbs. Yet modern proverbs proliferate constantly and are among our most colorful and popular expressions: “Sh*t happens,” “It takes a village to raise a child,” “Never criticize anybody until you have walked a mile in his shoes,” “The customer is always right,” “Different strokes for different folks,” “The opera ain’t over until the fat lady sings,” “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch,” “If anything can go wrong, it will.”

For a forthcoming book of modern proverbs, I would welcome suggestions of additional contemporary proverbs of all kinds.


Scott Chester

The Engineer's Rule: Life is driven by Shultz's Law: " Murphy was an optimist ".

jep

We used to say as kids.

"Go play in traffic"

Helen

I'm so hungry I could eat a horse and chase the rider.

crow

The original computer wisdom was GIGO: Garbage in, garbage out.

Cliche

My three favorites:

You can't pluck a toad.

Like your job, love your family.

The greatest mistake you can make is to be continually fearing you will make one.

babycakes

The cemetery is full of people who thought the world couldn't get along without them.

Look good, feel good. Feel good, do good.

Take a long walk off a short pier.

Never draw to an inside straight.

cv714

"what goes around,comes around"

What a Goof!

"Choose your mate wisely"

Claire

I don't know if this is a British one as I dont' think I've read it in this list... but...

"If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys."

Rose

The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese

Stephanie

Another day, another dollar.
One day at a time.

E

Back in the day....

DJH

Some pithy Slovak proverbs:

A dying mare kicks hardest.

A good conscience is the softest pillow.

Zoey

"We're kicking ass."

"Death is terrible."

"Fool me once, shame on - shame on you. Fool me - you can't get fooled again."

Some gems from W.

Pylon

A different version of an old classic, but I find the change helps get people's attention.

"People who live in tin houses shouldn't throw can openers."

Chloe

"such is life"
"if you can't beat 'em, join 'em"
"ain't nothin' but a g' thang"

Yoda says this, "Try not. Do or do not. There is no try."

michael

Death And Taxes

Stu

"The bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of an ever expanding bureaucracy"

No clue where it came from, I heard it in a computer game (Civilization).

Bobby T.

The steam that blows the whistle never turns the wheel...

Don't worry about the mule going blind, just load the wagon...

You only live once and you're dead a long time...

Happiness comes not from doing what one likes, but from liking what one has to do...

Stu

"Never whistle in the church" I still am not 100% on what it means, but I had a romanian teacher who always said it with an air of wisdom.

Aubrey

"Drinkin' the Kool-Aid"

Of course, that's in reference to the infamous Jim Jones