7 Reasons That These Proverbs are Nonsensical
1. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Birds are vile, horrid, cruel-eyed, pointy-beaked creatures that flap alarmingly. Why the hell would I want such a thing in my hand? A bird in the hand is a traumatic event. A bird in the hand is worth thousands of pounds in therapy. The proverb does state, correctly, that birds further away from me – in the bush – are of greater value than birds near me, which is true. But what it doesn’t do is stress the greater desirability of no birds in the hand. Or anywhere else. No birds in the hand are more valuable than anything.
2. A rolling stone gathers no moss. Motionless stones also gather no moss. As do shimmying stones, stones moving up-and-down, side-to-side, in uneven circles or dancing the fandango. Stones don’t gather moss. In fact, stones don’t gather anything. They just hang out in the garden or on the beach. Not gathering things.
3. A woman’s place is in the home. Really? But what if I want to use the internet undisturbed, mend bicycles in the kitchen, or break wind? Surely the presence of a woman would hinder me. Also, how would I have met a woman in the first place, if they were all at home? I wouldn’t. Unless I was related to them. Essentially, this proverb encourages incest.
4. Ask a silly question and you’ll get a silly answer. Okay then. I’m not going to dance with a cat this afternoon, what colour cat shouldn’t I dance with?
5. Many a mickle makes a muckle. Errr. Okay. You might also say that many a sparcus makes a sporcus, many a grungle makes a grongle or many a kadookle makes a kanookle. In fact, that’s better. I’ve improved it right there. Now people can say that for hundreds of years for no apparent reason.
6. Ne’er cast a clout till May be out. No beating anyone around the head until after May. Got it. Head-beating season runs from June to December. Couldn’t be clearer. Physical assaults to the head will presumably be frowned upon from January to May (inclusive).
7. Oil and water don’t mix. I’m afraid that BP have successfully disproved that. They have also been successful in eliminating a lot of birds, which helps with proverb one enormously. Well done BP. Solver of Bird Problems. Bloody Priceless. Britain’s Proud.