I was only a boy when I first began protesting against the idiocy of so much of the folk wisdom handed down to us. Proverbs, adages and aphorisms (‘a pithy observation that contains a general truth,’ says my dictionary) are recited to children by grown-ups, often in a singsong, holier-than-thou voice; and I couldn’t help noticing that many were quite evidently untrue, contained thoroughly bad advice, and some nuggets of supposedly sage proverbial wisdom are flatly contradicted by other nuggets of sage proverbial wisdom.
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