Thursday, September 25, 2014


Speaking of old family sayings...

My Great-uncle Whit used to have a saying, "That's the cost of an education."

No, he wasn't referring to tuition and fees at the local university. Uncle Whit was talking about learning from our experiences, particularly mistakes, especially where money was involved.

I have a friend who loaned his cousin a substantial amount of money. His cousin was going through a rough time - a messy divorce, layoff at work, etc. - and was in a financial pinch. He asked my friend for a couple thousand dollars, "just to tide me over until I get my feet on the ground," with full assurance that he would repay the money as soon as possible.

Of course, you know the rest of the story. The cousin did eventually get his feet back on the ground. Found another job, set up housekeeping on his own, bought a new truck...seemed to be doing pretty well financially. Whenever my friend approached him about repaying the loan, however, the cousin never had the money.

After a couple of years, my friend suggested to his cousin that he set up a payment schedule to pay off the debt a little at a time. The cousin got mad and said something about that was what family was for, to help one another out. He accused my friend of being stingy and too preoccupied with money, and he swore he wouldn't repay one red cent.

Uncle Whit would say, about the dollar amount that my friend was out, "That's the cost of the education." My friend has learned, in a rather expensive and painful way, that his cousin is unreliable and doesn't honor his commitments.

I've heard another, similar saying:  "Once bitten, twice shy." If you've ever been bitten by a dog, you make extra sure you're careful not to saunter up too close to that dog again! But the saying also has a more general meaning - once you've had an unpleasant experience (like my friend with his cousin), you are extra careful to avoid similar experiences in the future.

Albert Einstein is credited with this saying:  "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." That sounds a little like refusing to learn from one's mistakes. Like reaching out to pet that toothy canine again, despite what happened last time. Yep, that sounds pretty crazy to me, too!

So, what are some of the old sayings passed around in your family?


Anonymous said...

"He who tooteth his own horn, the same there unto shall be tooted."C.F.Fowler, Suprintendant of Schools, Obion County, Tn. 1930s.
"He is so tight he wouldn't give fifteen cents to see a pisant eat a bale of hay."J.B.Stricklin.

Suzanne said...

"You will never know if you like it if you don't try it."
Particularly in reference to unfamiliar foods that usually happened to taste fabulous even if they looked frightening.