Here are a few more phrases, short and long, humorous and serious, which have entertained me, and have often instructed me, over the years. We are ready for the number just after 34.
35/”The beatings will continue until morale improves.”
A neighbor flew a flag flying which said that; it may have been my first introduction to the phrase. What makes this so funny is, of course, that morale is not likely to improve as long as the beatings go on. It sometimes seems to me that our beloved scumbag “elite” has exactly this attitude toward us peons: “The beatings will continue until morale improves.” We just can’t seem to get our attitudes right enough for them to feel able in good conscience to discontinue the beatings. So the beatings are going to continue for a while. We need to learn to deal with it. When morale improves, maybe they will let up on us. Although I doubt it.
36/”A thing worth doing is a thing worth overdoing.”
This is one of the mottoes of the Bagthorpe family created by author Helen Cresswell. They were dysfunctional but active. Probably most of us get in this mode now and then (and in some cases often). Something might be worth doing, but we insist on overdoing. Working for the proper balance is not something that comes easily to us, as a race. The phrase has a sort of jaunty recklessness which appeals to me.
37/”A million here, a million there; pretty soon you’re into real money.”
Everett Dirksen, a senator from Illinois, is often credited with saying this–although there is controversy on whether he really did say it. If he said it, it would have happened sometime in the 1950s or 1960s. For the sake of argument, assume he said it. The point was that government spenders can rack up spending very quickly. Much less than a million dollars is already into “real money” for most of us, but government officials spending Other People’s Money (the only kind they are good at spending) recklessly spend money very quickly. I am old enough to remember that this phrase definitely had the word million in it, originally. Nowadays the value of our money has been so debased by the printing of money not backed by gold or silver, that some people think the phrase is “A billion here, a billion there; pretty soon you’re into real money.” Nope. The original was definitely million.
38/”The way to do a thing is to do it.”
This was a phrase written by the great evangelistic English Anglican bishop, J. C. Ryle. I borrowed the phrase for the title of one of my books of essays (dedicated to Ryle). I think it says so much that is sensible about how the world is put together. If we want to do something, the way to do it is to do it. Our tendency is to form three committees, and to come up with majority and minority reports to be studied for at least six years. I am not recommending that we neglect to plan the right way to do something. But I also think we tend to let ourselves get sidetracked. The way to become godly is to become godly. The way to save money is to save money. The way to encourage another person is to encourage another person. And on and on. We learn by doing. We may not do the thing we want to do as well as we could, right at the start, but by doing we begin to get the thing done. Okay, one more example. Two parents realize that it is wise to homeschool their children. The way to do it is to do it. Yes, they will make mistakes. But by doing it, they begin to learn. If they think about it until they have the perfect plan, three more years will have passed and their children are still in the humanist seminaries being brainwashed.
39/”Jesus sought me when a stranger, wandering from the fold of God.”
This is a line from the hymn, “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” written at the age of 22 by Robert Robinson, in England, in the year 1758. Words and music are a perfect blend. The phrase above says a great deal that is true about how we become Christians. We were wandering from God, and He sought us. It is all grace. Yes, of course we have human responsibility. But it turns out that nobody is wise enough or good enough to choose God. Do all Christians agree with this, or understand it? Of course not. How do we put together human responsibility with God being the one who moves us to salvation? None of us understand it, but it remains true. And, as eternity unfolds, no matter how exalted our characters become, we are all going to understand every day that it was the grace of God that brought us to heaven, not our own merit. We will all be humbled, and humility will be a wise feeling and a wise atmosphere in which to live. We ain’t there yet, but I think we will be. In this song a 22-year old young sprout nailed an eternal truth, and did it most tunefully. This is one of many countless versions of the song, here sung by All Sons & Daughters.
40/”Every now and then the old blind sow finds an acorn.”
I first remember hearing this from my father. It is a good phrase to use when we finally do something right, something unexpectedly successful. Such events may not happen often, but we should always remember the old blind sow and emulate her persistence in still trying.
41/”Everything was just generally real good.”
This can still bring a chuckle in our family. My father originated this phrase. I don’t remember the details exactly, but here is an approximation of what happened. We were all supposed to give a highlight of the past year. My father, when his turn came, was unable to come up with something specific, so he said, “Everything was just generally real good.” This was typical of his tendency to avoid specifics. We had the same trouble in getting him to pick a favorite food. Finally, after some hemming and hawing, he picked shrimp as his favorite food. It took a lot to get it out of him.
42/”I just put my thumb on zero and let ‘er rip.”
My Aged Parent, my mother, coined this one at the ripe old age of 101. What happened was that the electricity was out for quite a few hours. One day stretched into another, the weather was hot, the lack of lighting inconvenient, and all of us had a chance to recognize how dependent we are on electricity for leading normal enjoyable lives. My mother began to become frustrated with how long it was taking the electric company to get power restored. So she called them. Amazingly, she got through, and actually talked to someone. When I heard that she had successfully reached the power company, I was surprised, and asked her how she was able to get through to talk to someone. In a truculent tone she replied, “I just put my thumb on zero and let ‘er rip.” It worked. Somehow she got through and made her case. We weren’t without electricity much longer after her call. I doubt if the electric company will let this problem happen again.
43/”This is not going to end well.”
I love the restrained, calm way, that this phrase foresees disaster. In our current era, the phrase often fits the circumstances when our elite chooses some policy which can be seen to be leading inevitably to disaster. Printing money out of thin air? “This is not going to end well.” But examples can be multiplied by the dozen. At the worst, we have the entertainment of seeing what is coming, and calmly saying that we understand that this is not going to end well.
I hope to continue with part VI next week.