While preparing for a new Toastmasters speech assignment about telling a story with a valuable lesson, or moral, I listed a number of candidates among currently well-known axioms. I’ve finally narrowed this down to one around which to build my own fable.
However, when one considers the way many clichés are constructed, they leave room for alteration, or new perspectives considering our increasingly diversified society.
- When life gives you lemons, make lemonade – why restrict this to lemons, or assume receiving lemons is pejorative?
- You can’t teach an old dog new tricks – doesn’t this ignore the potential of other pet species?
- You should look before you leap – shouldn’t there be a warm-up period first?
- Know which side your bread is buttered on – what about new spreads available as alternatives to butter?
- Every cloud has a silver lining – is there some way to harvest this precious metal?
- The handwriting is on the wall – is it signed and dated, suitable for framing?
- Actions speak louder than words – but what about words that come in parentheses?
- An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure – shouldn’t a metric version of this be around by now?
- It’s what’s in-side that counts – would modern scanning techniques necessarily agree with this?
- The more things change, the more they stay the same – is the reverse also true?
- Opportunity doesn’t knock twice – doesn’t this discount the impact of social media?
- A rising tide lifts all boats – so, what are we supposed to do at low tide?
- Too many chefs spoil the broth – given the ingredients of many broths, shouldn’t some of the chefs be focused on healthier options?
- Walk softly, and carry a big stick – so, what size stick should one carry if walking quickly or with purpose?
- You can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube – how sanitary could this ever be?
A fabulous ‘no prize’ can be had for guessing which cliché I chose.