You can't sweat the things people say

You have to eat a peck of dirt before you die. That's what they used to say in the olden days. So, when we'd drop a piece of candy on the floor, we would pick it up and eat it. It was just adding to the peck of dirt. Then, they said if you swallo...

You have to eat a peck of dirt before you die.

That's what they used to say in the olden days. So, when we'd drop a piece of candy on the floor, we would pick it up and eat it. It was just adding to the peck of dirt.

Then, they said if you swallowed your gum, you would get appendicitis. I kept swallowing my gum, and I never did get appendicitis. There were so many sayings. Take the one about swimming. You had to wait an hour after eating before you could go swimming. I guess otherwise, you would get cramps and drown.

It's been that way forever. They tell you one thing as the gospel truth, and then they go and change it. You read one story about coffee being bad for you. Then, you read another about how good it is for you. You read that alcohol is bad. Then, you read that red wine is good for you. You read that chocolate will make you fat. Then, you read that it is good for you.

It's no wonder people are skeptical. I used to keep a file of studies on coffee and the varying good and bad reports. I guess you have to take all these things with a grain of salt. But don't take too much salt because it will raise your blood pressure. Or something.


Don't cross your eyes or they will stay that way. I have heard that, and it isn't true because I used to cross my eyes and stick out my tongue all the time at my brother, Walter. He used to say he would feed me rice and then fill me up with water so I would explode. It never happened. And my eyes never stayed crossed.

The devil made me do it. That's the only way I can explain some of the things I do.

"I just vote for the person, not the party." People often say that during political campaigns. It sounds very righteous. But you have to wonder what would happen if everybody in the country felt the same. There would be no two-party system. There would be no support group for candidates. I can see where people might change their thinking, but it seems to me they should support a political party.

Gargle with salt water. That is supposed to cure any throat problem you can come up with. If you think it works, it maybe does.

Keep a civil tongue in your head. That's what people sometimes say when an argument is brewing. It isn't easy to keep the tongue civil, but it probably is a good idea.

Mind your Ps and Qs. I am not sure what that means, but it sounds pretty good. Probably you should always pay attention to what you are doing.

Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. I like these passages from the great game of Monopoly. It is a downer when you are in a tight game. It also can be applied to life. That is, if you don't earn your way around the board, you probably won't collect what you think you have coming to you.

It's just what the doctor ordered. He really didn't, but sometimes something makes you feel better. And it seems just like a good prescription. People often say that when they have a turn of good luck.


The wages of sin are death. And I guess you better believe that you will pay for your sins. It's kind of a stern warning. People need stern warnings.

Well-begun is nearly done. I tell myself that when I am dragging my feet on some tasks that need doing. It is true that if you just start moving, then before long, you are on your way.

Remember to cross your Ts and dot your Is. If you do that, you are covered. People who spend all their time on computers don't have to worry about that any more. And it's too bad. Some computer-savvy people aren't adept at handwriting. And handwriting is an art that needs attention.

So, how are you? People always ask that question. It is well to bear in mind that they really don't care. That is, they don't want a long description of your latest ailments or major problems. They are just being polite. So, you could just tell them that on a scale of 1 to 10, you are 7. That would mean you are pretty good. It would save a lot of time.

When you get home from vacation, kind friends might say they want to hear all about your trip. Well, they don't mean it. You should stop and realize they don't want a slideshow. Maybe they want to hear a little, but not too many details.

Tell me all about your family. That is what some kind soul might ask. It goes without saying you should keep it brief and refrain from bragging too much. People would rather hear something funny or at least the bald truth about your family.

Everybody's mother used to say if you can't say anything nice about a person, don't say anything at all. Mother was right, so bite your tongue.

The sayings go on:


-- Knock on wood.

-- Cross your fingers when you tell a lie.

-- And remember, every cloud has a silver lining.

Reach Hagerty at or (701) 772-1055.

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