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Is It a Saying or a Cliche?

Another common saying revisited:   Pull yourself up by your bootstraps.

I once heard somebody say it was a good way to land on your ass.  Ain’t that the truth!

I’m not saying you will inevitably land on your ass.  However, it seems to me you’d better have strong bootstraps, killer abs, and a completely non-stick surface.  Of course you might have these things and you may, indeed, make the bootstrap thing work.

Yes, I know it is just an expression.  It means, if I am not mistaken, that rather than wallow in your problems you can use your own power to overcome them or, to return to the metaphor, rise above them.  However (still in the metaphor), I’m thinking there are easier ways to rise.

For example, you might push yourself up, maybe even rolling over onto your front side to get more power from your arms.  Tis would work best if you are on a clean, dry surface rather than a muddy, mucky one. In other words, it depends on the problem.  Maybe sometimes it is better to not worry about presenting the tough, I-got-this-covered persona and just get up the best way you can.

You could also pull yourself up.  This, of course, requires something sturdy and firmly fastened to pull on, for example, a strong rope tied by a square knot to a solid wall.  How did the rope get there, you may ask?  Well, maybe you put it there earlier, in case of just such an emergency.  Maybe it just happened to be there.  Maybe a friend put it there.

Ah yes, my favorite aid to rising above our problems:  the hand of a friend.

Some may argue that this is not necessarily reliable, or that it is far better to depend only on one’s self, or that it is foolish to spend so much time and energy dissecting an old metaphor that few people use any more anyways.

There may be merit to these arguments.  I don’t know; I’m no genius.  I’m just a silly blogger enjoying Lame Post Friday.  Have a marvelous weekend, everyone.



4 responses »

  1. Thank you! The bootstrap saying is one I hate more than most. Not only is it nonsensical, it lets a bunch of people walk around acting ungrateful of those who helped them.

    • EXACTLY! When it is said to or about someone else, it’s just showing a lack of compassion for others’ problems. When it is said about oneself, that person usually needs to get over himself! (or herself, of course).

  2. I don’t know how you could actually pull yourself up by your bootstraps. As you said, your feet might go up, but the rest of you will go down! Maybe “hiking up your pants” would be wiser. A little painful, maybe, but you wouldn’t fall down! OY I think it might be time for me to go to bed. lol

    • I confess, sometimes I am inclined to just lie there and contemplate the sky. Also, I’m not sure if my boots actually have straps. Do laces count? Anyways, I rarely wear boots. It’s an awkward saying, no question.


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