Thursday, September 08, 2005

Dimes, Sugar, and Quarters: An old Nita-ism.

In her inventory of idioms, my mother, Juanita, keeps this one close at hand: "Too much sugar for a dime, and not enough for a quarter".

I think we all know what this means, but maybe you can do better than I in expressing that meaning. The idea is that whatever effort that a result seems to require is more than the result is worth, but the effort itself is not particularly meaningful either.

The saying also provides a handy excuse for not doing something that, perhaps, ought to be done. Finally, it gives a basis for criticizing some other person's proposal or some other person efforts.

There is at least one song with this title. The song is by Merle Travis, and you can read the lyrics here. The gist of the lyric is that the relationship in question is not worth the cost. The "sugar" is not quite worth the time and treasure, reminding me of the lyrics to an old folk song much sung in the sixties called "The Lemon Tree":

Lemon Tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat.

That was a good lyric for a teenage boy to have in his head.

But I digress . . .

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