New Proverbs for the Twenty-First Century

Posted: May 28, 2012 in Language
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Here’s the deal. Most proverbs are quite old. And it’s a proven, scientific fact that old things are bad. That’s why so many products are updated with “New and Improved” versions, and no products are labeled, “Old and Improved.” For centuries, however, nobody has bothered to modernize the obsolete proverbs that we lob about in every day conversation. Thus, I am overjoyed to address the issue of antiquated proverbs in my multi-part series: Makya McBee addresses the issue of antiquated proverbs in a multi-part series.

All that glitters is not gold – This is a problem common to many proverbs; they point out something so obvious as to be fairly useless. Who the hell thinks that every glittery thing is gold? “Look, an eleven year old girl’s pencil box! I’m rich! Rich I tells ya! There’s glitter in them thar hills!” Simply put, glitter does not equal gold (as evidenced by the Mariah Carey movie). Still for the very most naïve among us, may I suggest the following proverb update – “All email that appears to be from a Nigerian prince is definitely not from a Nigerian prince.”

Curiosity killed the cat – I never cared for this one. I don’t appreciate the notion that curiosity is a bad thing. If I ever have children, I will encourage them to be curious. (Any takers ladies? Come on now, this baby ain’t gonna gestate itself). So this one needs to be reversed, “Don’t worry, kids, the cat’s fine. Go ahead and be curious.”

Don’t judge a book by its cover – How else are we supposed to judge books? That’s exactly what the cover is designed for…so we’ll be able to judge whether or not we’re interested in reading the book. And the truth is, you can tell a lot about a lot of things just by looking at them. So, updated version – “While it’s appropriate to judge an e-book by its limited Amazon preview, you should reserve your final opinion until you see whether or not it’s an Oprah’s Book Club recommendation.”

Trojan horse in Canakkale, Turkey

Yeah…that’s not at all suspicious…

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket – This is decent advice. But it’s clearly outdated. It harkens back to a time when people lived a rural, farming lifestyle. When people had eggs. And baskets. And they put those eggs into those baskets. Sometimes, erroneously, they put all of their eggs into a single basket. Anyway. Let’s rewrite this so that the kids can understand what we’re talking about, “Don’t put all your videos in one youtube account.”

Every cloud has a silver lining – I like to be as optimistic as the next guy, but there’s a limit. I know it’s very self-helpy to say that bad things are good because they’re a learning experience. But it’s just not always the case. Let’s update – “Every cloud computing system has…crap, I don’t know what a cloud computing system is. But listen to this, if you look carefully you can find something good in most bad things. But not all bad things. Let’s be honest, some things are just plain unfortunate.”

Beware of Greeks bearing gifts – This, of course, is based on the story of the Trojan horse, in which a bunch of Greek soldiers used the ancient military tradition of hiding in a big, wooden pony. But between this and “It’s all Greek to me,” I say we’ve given the good people of Greece enough crap. I mean, come on, when was the Trojan War? Fifty, sixty years ago? Enough already. Let’s simplify, “If your sworn enemy offers you a gift big enough to fit a bunch of people in…um, don’t accept it.”


  1. speaker7 says:

    Please update Don’t cry over spilt milk that you just led a horse to, but could not make him drink. I think that’s how that goes. I don’t understand it, and I find if you don’t understand something, you should hate that something with every cell in your body.

  2. topiclessbar says:

    I particularly dislike “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” It involves measurements and conversions that I just don’t understand. To think that people understood things like this before the ‘converter’ feature on the cell phone is amazing. Anyways, most countries don’t even use ounces and pounds. Furthermore, it encourages people to be cowardly, sort of like what you said about curiosity killing the cat. So, instead, I offer “A gram of cocaine is worth $30.” It really doesn’t have anything to do with the general tenor of the original proverb, but it’s worthwhile information.

    Funny post, guy! Keep up the good work!

  3. heathersnyder1 says:

    A pair of Christian Louboutin glittery gold heels will set you back $1395.00. Some things that glitter…

    • Makya McBee says:

      Speaker – I would love to update that milk proverb (“Got Spilt Milk?”) but I have to get back to hating this Calculus problem…

      To Pickles Bar – Fantastic. I had no idea cocaine was so affordable…forget the electic bill, I’m startin’ me a deadly habit…

      Heather – They must actually be made of pure gold at that price.

  4. Lokyra Stone says:

    The only reason “Curiousity killed the cat” is so stupid is people always leave off the second half of the damn proverb! “Curiousity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought him back.” You’ve got a resurrecting cat here!

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