In the past here, we’ve talked about stupid saying and platitudes and such that make me want to stab things with knives. But when I was at work last night (when you work the late shift and things get slow you have a LOT of time for ponderings) I thought, huh, there are totally some of those old sayings that I not only believe, I totally follow as if they’re laws of the land. So I think that means that somewhere deep inside me there’s some sort of old-world housewife or something who throws salt over her shoulder and forks the sign of the evil eye at traveling salesmen.
My mother and grandmother (and I would assume their people before them, but I didn’t know many of them) were very into old country sayings. I’ve mentioned it before, but my favorite saying of my grandmother’s, ever, was “Love will go wherever it’s sent! Even up a pig’s ass.” (This was in reference to a family member who had fallen in love with a jerk.) My grandmother is salty and cusses a lot and hates a lot of people and revels in gossip. She’s not the kind of grandmother you see on sitcoms who comforts you and makes you baked goods (although, yes, she does make baked goods, and they are FANTASTIC. My grandmother’s cooking is a., some of the best, and b., guaranteed to put fifty pounds on you in about 4 days. Her baked beans are known all around the county. People she doesn’t even KNOW ask her to make her famous baked beans. And if you ask her for the recipe, she doesn’t HAVE one. She’s all, “I don’t know, I just throw things in the pan, you know.”) She’s more the type who tells you lurid stories of the time your third cousin’s dick rotted off from the clap because he was having sex with all the whores (if you say, “there were all the whores? In the country? Really?” she changed the subject, so I don’t know that you can believe ALL of her stories), or long, rambling stories where she assumes you know who she’s talking about so she doesn’t use anyone’s names, just “the old guy” or something, and you’re all, “Um…I don’t…who is that?” and finally half an hour later you find out it’s your cousin’s husband’s grandfather who you’ve never met. I assume the pig’s ass saying is kind of a backdoor (heh) way to talk about bestiality. It made me laugh so hard I choked, and she just looked at me benignly, like, “what, that’s just a thing we say around here.” She is also the exact age (to the day!) of Hugh Hefner. I like that both my one-of-a-kind grandmother and smoking-jacketed Hefner were born on the same day, and one started a nudie empire, and one talks about pig-fuckery.
Anyway, as much as I think there are a lot of very, very stupid sayings (I just found, in doing research for this post – WHAT? I totally do research – a whole website of the WEIRDEST SAYINGS EVER, which I will share with you someday) there are some that I totally believe in. Whether this is because I am from cow-country and it’s in my genes (no, not my JEANS, never-you-mind what’s in my jeans, Ding Dong Joe) or this is because I am superstitious or practical or what it is, who knows. WHO EVER KNOWS. Let’s see what country-fresh sayings I totally think are valid, out of the billions of weird ones that are out there that I just (honestly) don’t understand at all.
Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched. Meaning: don’t count on something before it happens.
Dad and I talked about this one just the other day. We are in complete agreement about our refusal to chicken-count. He was all, “oh, no. No, of course you don’t do that. Only idiots do that.”
Let me explain. Let’s say you get potential good news. Um…let me make up some potential good news. Someone tells you that in a month, you might get an awesome opportunity to do something you’ve always wanted to do. I’m making this up, please don’t read into this and think I have some sort of opportunity I don’t. Let’s see. Let’s say you’ve always wanted to skydive (ugh, why) and a friend tells you that a month from now, a friend of theirs with a plane and skydiving training will be in the area, maybe, so if they come, would you want to come along and skydive? So you tell EVERYONE YOU KNOW. And you get SO EXCITED. And you start a countdown on Facebook all “22 days til I’m flying like a BIRDIE!” And then a week before the supposed date, your friend sends you a message, “Oh, that fell through, sorry.” You feel like an asshole and you’re so let down and your friends keep asking about the opportunity and you have to tell them all it fell though. If you had just kept QUIET about it, you wouldn’t have to keep EXPLAINING it.
Dad taught me that if you get good news, until you have that good news LOCKED DOWN, you don’t tell ANYONE about that good news. (I break that rule a little – I have a handful of people that I can’t help but tell the good news to, whether it comes to fruition or not. NO, I’m not going to tell you who those people are. THEY ARE MY PEOPLE. Enough said.) My dad is the most secretive person in the world. He doesn’t tell anyone ANYTHING. I’m (well, obviously) not that bad, but anything big-newsy (the theater-review thing, my book, etc.) I don’t want to chicken-count until it’s official-official. What if it got yanked away? I’d feel like a huge jerk, then everyone would be asking about it and I’d have to explain it fell through. Better to not number those chickens until you KNOW they’re your chickens. (The things we learn from our parents are funny, aren’t they? I’ve learned a lot of weird ways-and-means from Dad. I’m an excellent secret-keeper. That’s Dad’s doing. I also refuse to give compliments to people who are fishing for them, I’m extremely weird about money, and I have a strange affinity for John Wayne westerns. Thank you, Dad!)
Also, for me, it’s a superstitious thing. I’m weird about a few things. This is one of them. I think if I mention a potential good thing, the world will teach me a lesson by not giving it to me. I know. I KNOW. I’m like a old Italian widow or something.
SIDE NOTE: In researching this, I found that this is a very old saying from the 1800s. Impressive, no? It’s from a poem about a milkmaid and her pail and she was VERY chicken-county and it brought her to ALL THE RUIN. Don’t be the chicken-counter. It’s bad news.
Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t. Meaning: better to deal with what you know than what you don’t, because what you don’t could be worse.
Now, I’m torn on this. Of course I think sometimes you need to take risks. Nothing is gained without risk. But here is a story. A while ago, I was working for a company that I enjoyed a great deal. (This was a long time ago. I want to say…um…7 years or so ago? A long time before I was Lucy’s Football.) And we got a new CEO. And he was – well, he was a goof. He wasn’t EVIL. He was just kind of a toolbag. He concentrated on the wrong things. Like, one day he was all, “Amy! I need plants for my office. Go to Lowe’s!” and he sent me to Lowe’s and I had to call him on my cell a billion times and describe the plants to him so he could have just the right plants for his office because we didn’t have cameraphones then. Well, I suppose SOMEONE had a cameraphone then, just not me. So he wasn’t EVIL, just SILLY. But a lot of the people at work really couldn’t stand him. And yes, he was a bit pesky, like a mosquito, but he wasn’t EVIL. You could distract him with shiny things, and he was never mean. And sometimes he even laughed. And my coworkers were all, “UGH! We need to get rid of this guy.” And I was like “No. It’s like that old saying; better the devil you know than the devil you don’t. If he leaves, who knows who we’ll get in his place?” AND! True to form, pesky CEO got fired (I don’t remember why…I think he just wasn’t very popular) and a new CEO came in. He was a DICK, you guys. All business; very mean; very yelly. And a couple months later, he brokered a deal to sell the company and we all lost our jobs and the company closed.
So the devil we knew (pesky CEO, who was not a devil at all, just kind of a mindless dork, I didn’t mind him at all) was MUCH better than the devil we didn’t (who I am CONVINCED had horns hidden under his perfectly-hairsprayed CEO hair-helmet.)
This saying, however, can keep you stuck in a job (I mean…we don’t know anyone who was in THAT situation for the past 6.5 years, do we? let’s think) for much longer than she should be because she is scared that there is nothing better out there for her and that her evil soul-sucking job (the devil she knows) is better than the unknown (unemployment = the devil she doesn’t.) I’m still in limbo about this situation, so I’ll let you all know what the outcome of that is. I’ll judge the devils once I know which one of them is less devilly.
What goes around, comes around Meaning: karma’s a bitch, dude.
This doesn’t always work. But a lot of times, it does. I try to keep it in mind as much as I can when going about my daily life. I can’t always – sometimes you are just in a REALLY REALLY BAD MOOD and you can’t help but be a little more of a bitch than you mean to be. (I don’t always react well under pressure. I’m a lot less “let the PRESSURE turn you into DIAMONDS” than I am “THIS PRESSURE IS MAKING ME LASH OUT LIKE A SEA-HARPY.”) But for the most part, if you put out good, you get good back. No, seriously. Try it sometime.
I’m not innocent enough to think “good things happen to good people ALWAYS AND FOREVER” but my weird nebulous non-religious religious feelings have a strong do-unto-others vibe, and I can just tell you, from my day-to-day observations, that the more good vibes you put out, the more good vibes you get back. The more positive you are, the more positivity you get in return. You are also more prepared to deal with the negative if you have a head full of positive. This is not always easy, but it’s the truth. True things are not always easy, jellybeans.
There’s no such thing as a free lunch Meaning: nothing in this life is free, babe.
I don’t think this refers to free samples at the Costco, like of cheese or whatever. (Although in order to get those, sometimes you have to listen to someone trying to sell you more cheese, and I hate that. JUST GIMME MA CHEESE.) I think this is more, everything comes with a price. If you think someone’s helping you for free – well, they might be, no money might be attached, but other things might be. You need to be aware. ALSO, and this is tangentially attached – here is something I think needs to be addressed. NO ONE IS OWED ANYTHING IN THIS LIFE. You are owed what you earn. If you live in a country, you are technically owed what the laws of the land provide you – life, liberty, blah blah blah – but don’t expect it. You work your ass off and you get what you work for. If you’re in a tough spot, and your country has social programs to help you out – you paid into that when you were working, technically. I’m not saying you shouldn’t get food stamps or welfare. Don’t be silly. I’m just saying, people who think they’re OWED things – people who are greedy when there are free shows or when they’re given something for free and they complain the free thing isn’t BIG enough – make me INSANE. NOTHING IS FREE. You are owed NOTHING. You work, you make money, you buy yourself what you can afford. End of story. (This is why I very seldom go to free events. I don’t like the attitude of people at free events. They are very entitled and very rude and nothing is good enough. IT IS FREE WHY ARE YOU COMPLAINING.)
You can’t judge a book by its cover Meaning: What you see isn’t always what you get.
This is true for books, and people, and cats, and movies, and television shows, and cars, and lots of things. I don’t underestimate things that don’t look like much to begin with. The stillest waters run the deepest. I’ve learned this over and over and over. What’s inside is often not what’s outside. And those of us who realize that are really the lucky ones, because we get the best stuff and aren’t dependent on the shiny.
I’m going to go over here now and NOT count these chickens that MAY OR MAY NOT BE HAPPENING. I spend my life in a constant state of non-chicken-counting, most sincerely. Happy day, all. Shush, you chickens, I don’t even know how many of you there are.