An Apple a Day by Caroline Taggart
When you were a child—you were once a child, weren’t you--did your parents seem to have sayings and proverbs for every occasion? Some of them made little sense; you’ve got to have your cake before you can eat it, don’t you? One of my father’s favorites was “If a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing well.” Repeating these aphorisms to children stems from ancient brain-washing techniques and should be considered abuse. The only problem is, some of those old saws helped form our characters, and remain indelibly printed on our personalities.
My father probably wouldn’t appreciate my take on his old favorite, something along the lines of “Why do a job if it’s not worth doing?” Somehow, though, I suspect that if I answered his “Why didn’t you…” with “It wasn’t worth doing,” I wouldn’t be sitting for a few days. The unfortunate result of his insistence on “doing well” was a perfectionist who is reluctant to try to do anything that mightn’t turn out…well, perfect. Essentially, no job is worth doing. (Note to parents: before throwing axioms at your children, be sure you don’t mind them coming back and biting you on the proverbial ass—not the children, the axioms.)
Caroline Taggart has taken dozens of proverbs, interpreted their original meanings, and commented on their relevance today in her latest book, An Apple a Day (Taggart’s last publication was I Used to Know That, a book for those of us who don’t remember anything we learned in school). She also provides insight into how some adages are connected, and others have evolved (some to be more relevant, others for a better flow).
With references to Facebook, Wikipedia, You Tube, Google, and other current phenomena and fads, Taggart humorously takes us on a trip through familiar phrases, often offering better ways to get a point across. Throughout An Apple a Day, she cites origins and earliest-use dates for many of the dictums. In addition to the expected Bible and Shakespeare, there are a number of surprises.Continued on the next page