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My mother had a maxim for every occasion. If I paced impatiently waiting for something to happen, she’d tell me, “A watched pot never boils.” If she had reservations about my friends, I’d get “Birds of a feather flock together.” If I got a Christmas present I didn’t particularly want, I might hear, “Never look a gift horse in the mouth.” Or perhaps, “Beggars can’t be choosers.”
It took me some time to realize that many of those maxims come in contradictory pairs.
“The squeaky wheel gets the grease” encourages me to squeak up. But “Speech is silver, silence is golden” advises me not to.
One maxim advocates caution: “Never put all your eggs in one basket.” Another expects me to take risks: “You can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs.”
Categories: Soft Edges
Tags: Folk sayings, wisdom, extremes