10 Old Sayings We Need to Bring Back

iStock
iStock

Before the Internet, we could not use memes of Willy Wonka or a triumphant baby to express ourselves. Instead, we used proverbs: catchy lines that encapsulate universal truths. Some were introduced to the world by witty writers, and some seemed to emerge fully formed into the collective conscious. Many of them are still with us (I’m not pulling your leg; More than you can swing a cat at), but many more have fallen out of use over the centuries. Here are 10 that should really be brought back.

1. “Bed is the poor man’s Opera.”

Source: Old Italian proverb
Meaning: The man who can’t afford expensive entertainments can still conduct the most passionate of orchestrations in his own bed.
Modern Usage: Something charming to say to your girlfriend when you’ve blown your paycheck on EVE Online Time Codes but are still hoping to get lucky.

2. “Children are certain cares, but uncertain comforts.”

Source: How the Good Wife, 1460
Meaning: You can bet you’re gonna have to change their diapers, but there’s no guarantee they’ll stick around to change yours.
Example of Modern Usage: The proper response to anyone who smiles smugly at a childless woman in her mid-thirties, points to their watch and says, “tick tick tick!”

3. “When cobwebs are plenty kisses are scarce.”

Source: Notes and Queries, 1864
Meaning: Dirty houses are not sexy.
Example of Modern Usage: Something a wife might say in bed as she shoves a body pillow between her sweat-pant clad body and her husband’s. Especially if that husband promised to use the weekend to remove all his old Maxim magazines and dusty weightlifting crap from the guest room, and then didn’t.

4. “He who would pun would pick a pocket."

Source: Alexander Pope, 1729
Meaning: If you’re of such low character the best jokes you can come up are throwbacks from the Brady Bunch Variety Hour, there is nothing you won’t stoop to.
Example of Modern Usage: You can try to silence Uncle Ron’s miserable jokes next Thanksgiving with this bon mot… but he’ll probably just answer back with, “He who would stun would pee on a socket.” And then swipe your wallet.

5. “A friend to all is a friend to none.”

Source: Wadroephe, 1623
Meaning: This is why we hate politicians. They have to morph to please so many different types of people; they appear dishonest and false.
Example of Modern Usage: Your explanation to your friends for why you voted for Nader. He’s not a friend to anyone who guiltlessly emits carbon, so you know you can trust him!

6. “Garlic makes a man wink, drink, and stink.”

Source: Nashe, 1594
Meaning: Garlic inflames your lust, lures you to drunkenness, and makes your entire body smell like over-seasoned meat.
Example of Modern Usage: A joyful Best Man’s toast at a New Jersey wedding reception. Because c’mon, who wouldn’t wish for an awesome life of wink and stink for their best friend?

7. “The gist of a lady’s letter is in her postscript.”

Source: Edgeworth, 1801
Meaning: From your grandma to your girlfriend, all the preceding paragraphs about the health of pets and the obnoxiousness of Cindy from work mean nothing compared to the stuff after the “P.S.”
Modern Usage Example: No matter how cheerful the email, if it’s followed by a P.S. that says, “Oh by the way I noticed you didn’t take the car for an oil change like you said you were going to…”, this was the purpose of the entire correspondence, and you are in peril.

8. “Bachelor’s wives and maid’s children are well taught.”

Source: Heywood, 1546
Meaning: When you don’t have a spouse or a kid, you know everything about maintaining a healthy relationship with spouses and kids.
Modern Usage Example: When your single-and-loving it! friend informs you that you really shouldn’t yell at your 6 year old for trying to force the dog and cat to kiss, and instead use the positive-reinforcement tactics she recently learned in her Intro to Psych class. Invite her to practice those tactics while you go spend an hour or two at Starbucks. Do not show her where you keep your Xanax. She has a lesson to learn.

9. “We are born crying, live complaining, and die disappointed.”

Source: Unknown
Meaning: Oh, I think you know all too well what this means.
Modern Usage Example: Anytime anyone asks you for anything, ever.

10. “Gluttony kills more than the sword.”

Source: Barclay, 1509
Meaning: Even in 1509, when you had to overtake and slay your food before consuming it, overeating was still hardening arteries, enlarging hearts, and filling graveyards.
Modern Usage Example: Thing you say to anyone who presumes to take the last piece of The Colonel’s fried chicken when it is rightfully yours. Can be accompanied with a friendly jiggle of whichever bit of their body fat you can reach. (We're not responsible for any subsequent injuries.)

6 Protective Mask Bundles You Can Get On Sale

pinkomelet/iStock via Getty Images Plus
pinkomelet/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Daily life has changed immeasurably since the onset of COVID-19, and one of the ways people have had to adjust is by wearing protective masks out in public places, including in parks and supermarkets. These are an essential part of fighting the spread of the virus, and there are plenty of options for you depending on what you need, whether your situation calls for disposable masks to run quick errands or the more long-lasting KN95 model if you're going to work. Check out some options you can pick up on sale right now.

1. Cotton Face Masks; $20 for 4

Protective Masks with Patterns.
Triple7Deals

This four-pack of washable cotton face masks comes in tie-dye, kids patterns, and even a series of mustache patterns, so you can do your part to mask germs without also covering your personality.

Buy it: $20 for four (50 percent off)

2. CE- and FDA-Approved KN95 Mask; $50 for 10

A woman putting on a protective mask.
BetaFresh

You’ve likely heard about the N95 face mask and its important role in keeping frontline workers safe. Now, you can get a similar model for yourself. The KN95 has a dual particle layer, which can protect you from 99 percent of particles in the air and those around you from 70 percent of the particles you exhale. Nose clips and ear straps provide security and comfort, giving you some much-needed peace of mind.

Buy it: $50 for 10 (50 percent off)

3. Three-Ply Masks; $13 for 10

Woman wearing a three-ply protective mask.
XtremeTime

These three-ply, non-medical, non-woven face masks provide a moisture-proof layer against your face with strong filtering to keep you and everyone around you safe. The middle layer filters non-oily particles in the air and the outer layer works to block visible objects, like droplets.

Buy it: $13 for 10 (50 percent off)

4. Disposable masks; $44 for 50

A batch of disposable masks.
Odash, Inc.

If the thought of reusing the same mask from one outing to the next makes you feel uneasy, there’s a disposable option that doesn’t compromise quality; in fact, it uses the same three-layered and non-woven protection as other masks to keep you safe from airborne particles. Each mask in this pack of 50 can be worn safely for up to 10 hours. Once you're done, safely dispose of it and start your next outing with a new one.

Buy it: $44 for 50 (41 percent off)

5. Polyester Masks; $22 for 5

Polyester protective masks.
Triple7Deals

These masks are a blend of 95 percent polyester and 5 percent spandex, and they work to block particles from spreading in the air. And because they're easily compressed, they can travel with you in your bag or pocket, whether you're going to work or out to the store.

Buy it: $22 for five (56 percent off)

6. Mask Protector Cases; $15 for 3

Protective mask case.
Triple7Deals

You're going to need to have a stash of masks on hand for the foreseeable future, so it's a good idea to protect the ones you’ve got. This face mask protector case is waterproof and dust-proof to preserve your mask as long as possible.

Buy it: $15 for three (50 percent off)

At Mental Floss, we only write about the products we love and want to share with our readers, so all products are chosen independently by our editors. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a percentage of any sale made from the links on this page. Prices and availability are accurate as of the time of publication.

Systemic vs. Systematic: How to Use Each Word Correctly

This woman systematically drinks orange juice while her creative juices are flowing.
This woman systematically drinks orange juice while her creative juices are flowing.
m-imagephotography/iStock via Getty Images

The English language is bursting with pairs of words so similar you might think they mean the same thing, even if one has an extra syllable in the middle. Some actually do mean the same thing—disorientated, for example, is a version of disoriented more commonly used in the UK, but they both describe someone who’s lost their bearings.

Others, like systemic and systematic, have different definitions. According to Dr. Paul Brians, a former Washington State University English professor and leading authority on grammar, systematic relates to an action that is done “according to some system or organized method.” If you sort your M&Ms by color and eat the blue ones last, you’re doing it systematically. Sometimes, Brians explains on his website, systematic is used when a behavior—however unintentional it may be—is so habitual that it seems to be the result of a system. If you forget to lock your front door every time you leave the house, someone might say that you have a systematic pattern of forgetfulness.

Systemic, meanwhile, describes something that happens inside a system or affects all parts of a system. It’s often used in scientific contexts, especially those that involve diseases or pesticides. If a cancer is systemic, that means it’s present throughout the body. If you’re describing how the cancer progressed, however, you could say it spread systematically from organ to organ. As Grammarist points out, systemic can also denote something that is “deeply ingrained in the system,” which helps explain why you sometimes hear it in discussions about social or political issues. When Theodore Roosevelt served as the New York City Police Commissioner, for example, his main goal was to stamp out the systemic corruption in the police department.

In short, systematic is used to describe the way a process is done, while systemic is used to describe something inside a system.

[h/t Grammarist]