lemons and lemonade

November 8, 2012

Kids say the darndest things. But so do adults. There are phrases or sayings in life that many people mindlessly repeat and/or use without fully considering their implications. At times, things like this can drive me nuts. One such phrase goes as follows:

“when life hands you lemons, make lemonade.”

It should be noted before I begin my dissertation here, that my loving and incredibly supportive professional editor uncle, will no doubt do some research on the origin and intended meaning of this phrase, which will render my thoughts incoherent and unintelligent. I invite and challenge him to post those things in the comments section of this entry. That being acknowledged, my issue with the phrase centers around it’s assuming nature.

First of all, it assumes lemons to be a negative or bad thing. While I am aware that the word lemon is used in the English language to describe a defective or poorly functioning item, I think assuming lemons to be bad is unfair. I know hundreds of people who love lemons, including myself. I enjoy them in iced tea, water and on fish just for starters. I think they are also a vibrant and joyful shade of yellow and the fact that you can use their rind for “zest”, proves their multi- functionality.

Secondly, the above phrase assumes that lemonade is good. This is strange to because of the first assumption. If lemons are bad, then why is lemonade good? Is sugar really that powerful? Does turning something bad into a drink give it redeeming qualities? This concept befuddles me to be sure. Furthermore, I do regularly enjoy a good glass of lemonade, and in many varieties – but I have also had lemonade that could make your face implode in on itself. This result is undesirable at best, and in theory, proves that not all lemonade is good.

Lastly, the phrase assumes you know how to make lemonade correctly. Shouldn’t it include a recipe – or at least some general instructions? If it is intended to imply that you take something bad and make it good – a step by step process of how to do so would prove helpful in my

opinion. Even adding the words – mix their juice with a cup of sugar – to the phrase would seem to make it vastly more informative and helpful.

In closing, I just don’t like it when people mindlessly say or repeat things without thinking them through logically. I do this all the time too I know – but I am trying to hold myself to a higher standard. I feel life would be better for all of us if we could say what we mean, which in this case means we should say something like:

“When bad things happen in life, try hard to think of and see what good you can make out of them.”

It’s not really even that much longer. So is there a phrase that people say that bothers you? Do you continue to say something you wish you didn’t? Do you have strong feelings about lemonade? Share them with us, because not all things people say are as cute as these kids.

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