Replacing Clichés

The Ragtag Daily Prompt today is NOTHING.

When it comes to clichés, I feel there’s nothing that can successfully replace some of these one-bite-wisdom quotes, like “Least said, soonest mended.” Yet editors want us to get rid of them, which is what led to the following writing exercise.

At a writing conference, each person was to think of an old gem of wisdom and write it on a sheet of paper. These were handed around and others in the group were to suggest more modern replacements for the given clichés. Yesterday as I was working through my stash of papers, I found one of these sheets. The saying:

“A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”

Bird.shutterbug75
Image: Shutterbug at Pixabay

In other words, you may get lucky and find that second bird in the bush. Or, while you’re chasing that one, this one you have may escape and you’ll have none.

Like the gambler who’s just won fifty dollars. If he puts it in his pocket, he has $50. If he bets it again, he may end up with $100, or he may lose it all.

This can get into even higher stakes, as when employees go on strike for higher wages. They may win the dollar per hour increase — or the boss may close down the shop, which will put them all out of work. Or they may get their pay increase after weeks on strike, but lose three or four thousand dollars in wages in the interim. When put to a vote, they may rather opt for “the bird in hand” and be content with their current wage.

But it’s a challenge to put this in a nutshell like the original saying did, and still get the meaning across. (Oh, dear! “Put it in a nutshell” is probably another cliché to avoid.)

Here are some responses people gave:
— What we actually have is better than what we wish we had.
— She went with a sure thing.
— She made the safe choice instead of stretching for more.

And this practical example:
She didn’t love Harry, but she figured he was better than nothing.
(Poor Harry!)

Here are my suggestions:
—Best grab the first bus. The next one might be full.
Better one eye seeing something than two eyes seeing nothing.

How would you replace this old cliché? Put your thinking cap on.

14 thoughts on “Replacing Clichés

  1. First, I like old cliches. They’re still around because they work. Coming up with new ones to replace them is a good mental exercise, but I’m a great believer in “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

    How about this: A dollar in your pocket is worth more than the money you lose by gambling to replace it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How about, “A dollar in your pocket is worth more than a dozen lottery ticket stubs”? 😉
      I’m with you. They work. and it seems the pendulum is swinging back again. People are trying to find the “tried and true” again.
      Thanks for your comment. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This was fun post and I’ve been racking my brains to come up with a replacement and all I see are streams of buses packed with commuters . Your suggestion is a winner.
    I’m inspired to eat chocolate now for tomorrow I may have to diet 😊.

    Liked by 1 person

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