Old quotes never die–just misquoted


I’ve blogged writing tips with a touch of humor for several years. I’m only halfway through 2013 and my humor generator has shut down. I didn’t realize the lull until I started this post. I’ve reached the idiom,  “You never miss the water until the well runs dry.” Is the well dry, or does “My bucket’s got a hole in it” fit here?

These old sayings prompted memories of my father’s repertoire—a well full of axioms for every occasion. He scolded my whistling attempts with one of his favorites, “A whistling girl and a crowing hen always come to some bad end.” I couldn’t find a use for that in my mystery manuscript so I dropped in “Cold as a cucumber” from the first law enforcement responder to a homicide. My critique group axed it as a cliché. I insisted it was a character trait—a coping mechanism for the sheriff’s deputy who had witnessed too much crime.

It  should be “Cool as a cucumber,” but don’t tell my character that. He would disagree. “It’s the thought that counts,” he would say. Then add, “Famous remarks are very seldom quoted right.”

He got that correct. Well, almost.



Filed under Blogging, Writing

3 responses to “Old quotes never die–just misquoted

  1. Brandye Dague

    Haha – some of these take me back in time – thx for the trip down memory lane (would this count as one of those quotes – lol)

  2. You are, of course, just toying with us. Your humor well never runs dry. I do know what you mean about famous remarks being misquoted. They are also sometimes misattributed. Last week I posted a blog and included the quote we always credit to P.T. Barnum (There’s a sucker born every minute). The line was really spoken by a no-name observer of the flamboyant showman.

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