Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Words have the taste we give them.

Okay, so I saw this person complaining about somebody else’s decision, sarcastically telling him it was a nice move on his part. And I thought, “Honey, you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” Then I thought that it was really silly, because flies like poop, not honey. Bees like honey, so it should be “you can catch more bees with honey than with vinegar.” But that just sounded odd, because who wants to catch bees anyway? Unless you’re a honey-maker, then you'd want the bees to make honey, otherwise why would you want bees? Then I decided that since I had no idea why we even say that, I'd google the origin of this saying. Because, you know, nowadays, if you don’t know something, google it.
Then I found out that flies do like honey, they like sweet things. Never thought I’d have something in common with a fly, go figure. And apparently, even in the 1600s people were already using this saying, so it's pretty old. So in order to avoid the annoying task of chasing flies, people would lure them with honey-traps. The idea would be that the fly would land on the honey and get stuck. It’s actually quite ingenious, if you think about it.
You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
So I guess the initial idea does make sense, and she should have used honey - or politeness, in that case - and saved her sour words for a more appropriate occasion. If there’s ever an occasion where sour words are better than sweet ones. Unless it's medicine. I think I remember something about a sour medicine. Or was it bitter? In any case, I'm pretty sure a spoon full of sugar would suffice in such case. 

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