While each of us is familiar with ‘sayings’, be it from our personal lives, or from something we have read, think about ones that have different generational applicability. Because as writers, we should think about sayings that reinforce or purposely contradict the image of a person, their age, a place, or thing.
To err is human: With the advent of abundantly used daily personal and professional computerized equipment, should this saying be ‘to err is electronics’? Think about that darn ‘auto spell check’ on your phone!
A penny for your thoughts: If you have a penny, what can you buy with it; not even a olden ‘penny gumball’! So you’re basically telling someone their thoughts are worthless.
As pure as the driven snow: This simile dates from the late 1500s; driven means ‘carried by the wind into drifts.’ Today, ‘driven snow’ refers to what the snow looks like after cars and trucks have had their fun…not very pure and white!
Carbon copy: The term is derived from carbon paper, invented in 1801 by Pellegrino Turri, and would become widely used to make copies of typewritten documents. With the decline of manual typewriting and the advent of computers, today any number of copies can be printed or electronically sent on demand. Thus, the decline of carbon paper, which had already been partially superseded by photocopying and carbonless copy paper, became irrevocable. Today, ‘carbon copy’ probably refers to carbon monoxide gas; thus, a person being like a carbonated soft drink, soda water, or dry ice.
Backseat driver: A back-seat driver was the pest who told the driver what to do; issued a lot of instructions, gave a lot of advice, offered no end of criticism, and didn’t do a bit of work. Today, with self-driving vehicles and verbal electronic navigational aids, the back-seat driver is person behind the steering wheel.
Johnny-on-the-spot: Once referring to a person who was on hand and ready to perform a service or respond to an emergency, to most parents and beer drinkers it now refers to the immediate availability of a john.
Think about your ‘building blocks’; we can not write without them.