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You know what thought did, don't you?

Posted on 2007-07-23
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When I was younger, my old nan, bless her dear departed soul, used to say:

"it followed a dustcart and thought it was a wedding"

whenever I used to say something like:

"I thought x.. or y... or z..."

What was she on about?
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Question by:AbacusInfoTech
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LocoTechCJ earned 680 total points
ID: 19551523
Back in the day, a dustcart was a wagon that hauled trash, which when overflowing would drag stuff behind it.  In weddings, people still drag stuff beind their vehicle like they did carriages or carts back then.  It just means not to overannalyze things or you'll fool yourself into thinking something that is not.
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by:BobSiemens
ID: 19553107
Maybe I'm wrong but...

It sounds like she was suggesting that [it?] was foolishly optimistic or upbeat.




A man has twin sons, and as they grow, he notices that they have very distinct personalities. One is ever the optimist, and the other is an inconsolable pessimist.

Well, this bothers the man. He wants to show his optimistic son that the world isn't always bright and cheery, and he wants his pessimistic son to learn that not everything is bad. So, on their eigth birthdays, he decides to teach them these lessons.

While the boys are off at school, the man fills the pessimistic boy's room with toys. Fantastic, wonderful toys, packed all the way to the ceiling. He fills the optimistic boy's room with horse shit. Mounds of horse shit, packed all the way to the ceiling. He then leaves for work.

When he returns home that evening, he opens his front door and hears hysterical crying coming from the pessimistic boy's room. Sighing, he heads in that direction to see what the problem is. "Son," he says, "why on earth are you crying? I've filled your room with toys. Fantastic, wonderful toys, all the way to the ceiling. Surely you must be having a happy birthday!"

The boy just shakes his head and continues to sob, whining, "But Daaaaad, all theses toys will need batteries, and what if they break, or what if I lose them, and what if all my friends are jealous of me and my toys?"

The man shakes his head, deciding that this son is a lost cause. He moves on to the optimist's room, to see how that boy is dealing with his birthday surprise.

When he opens the door, he sees his optimistic son dancing around, jumping into the pile of horse shit and giggling madly. The man is taken aback, and worries that this son may not be 'all there,' if you know what I mean. And he asks the boy, "Son, what on earth are you so happy about?"

To which the boy replies, "Well, Daddy, there's gotta be a pony in here somewhere!"
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by:AbacusInfoTech
ID: 19553959
Thanks for your comments.

I'm not sure, do you think it has something to do with the fact that 'thought' does not actually exist?
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by:LocoTechCJ
ID: 19556480
Thought exists.  It is so real that it can create things that are not really there.  That is why we have mental patients, fear, inventions, and as in your example, misunderstandings or overthinking.
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by:BobSiemens
BobSiemens earned 660 total points
ID: 19557249
A boy is playing with a ball in the living room.  He tosses the ball and it breaks a vase.

The boy explains to his grandmother: "I THOUGHT I wouldn't break anything"

The grandmother replies:
"You know what thought did, don't you? It followed a dustcart and thought it was a wedding"


Her point being that our thoughts can mislead us.

The old time dustcarts were horses and wagons.  It's possible to confuse the two but not if you are paying attention.  It will particularly happen when you want to believe something is true.  If you have a mind to see a wedding, you might see one even in something as squalid as a dustcart.


Again, I'm not saying I'm confident I'm right...
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by:-Mystique-
-Mystique- earned 660 total points
ID: 19564480
Perhaps the message in the saying is that instead of making assumptions about something you see, that you should first examine the subject more thoroughly before you make a decision and judgment as to what something really is.  

It's a common fact of human nature that people make "snap judgments", see something and instantly and firmly think that it is one thing, when in fact it may be something completely different.  

On the lighter side, the adage "One man's trash is another man's treasure" might also come into play here. (Try telling someone who collects all sorts of things many others would define as trash, such as old car parts, etc, that they should get rid of their yard full of those things because its all trash and an eyesore...and you'll see firsthand, a great example of someone who thinks what others see as trash, is valuable instead!)

As for junk attached to cars after weddings...I always thought the purpose of those cans, etc, was to make more noise and attract more attention as newlyweds drive around to gleefully show the world they are now officially a couple!  (And also it is an inexpensive way for a newly married couple and their friends to try to get the world around the couple to notice their new married status!  Probably that junk is the cheapest most cost-effective item in the entire wedding!)  (And off topic may I add that I personally think its a bit silly to spend thousands of dollars, or sometimes even go into debt, for so many beautiful and elaborate things, expensive clothes, etc, for only one day in their lives.  It looks even sillier when one realizes that the statistics now show odds of a couple staying together, are less than 50 percent.)

As for optimism and pessimism, optimism within the bounds of healthy reality perspective, is better than pessimism.  You can see many examples of people who attract good things or bad things into their life events, by their own attitude.  The old adage "Like attracts like" has quite a bit of validity.

So perhaps following that dust wagon and thinking it is a wedding, will lead you to the treasure trove of someone who has become very wealthy from owning and selling things out of a junkyard!  (I've known of a few people who owned junkyards and did become wealthy selling car parts!)

Now if someone could tell me what a saying MY grandmother used to tell me, that was used in a situation almost the same as that of the questioner's example, meant....

My grandmother used to say "Look there goes another rubber tree plant." as an answer when I said ""I thought x.. or y... or z..."

And my grandmother's excuse for refusing to explain it to me, was that I wasn't old enough yet to understand...problem is, she still was giving me that same excuse when I was an adult!
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by:AbacusInfoTech
ID: 19564726
Maybe there is *NO MEANING* to the phrase and response? Perhaps it is just something that is 'made up' with no reasoning - yet parents perpetuate the nonsense to their children...?
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by:arthurjb
ID: 19569226
No, it means simply what BobSiemens said above.

See Bob, once in a while you are right, just as long as it is not politics. :-)


Now, maybe she did not really know what it meant, and was just repeating it at the appropriate time, that we cannot know with asking her, but the phrase is known and means what was said.

This (not really knowing the phrase) is what seems to be going on in Mystique's case since;
>>My grandmother used to say "Look there goes another rubber tree plant."

is not an answer to

>>when I said ""I thought x.. or y... or z..."


It would actually be a correct answer to;
"it followed a dustcart and thought it was a wedding"


The Rubber Tree Plant phrase comes from a song about optimism.  The song tells the story of an ant colony.  While most folks think that a being as small as an ant could have no impact on the environment, the song explains that because of the ant's "High Hopes" (optimism) they can bring down things much bigger than themselves.  "Look there goes another Rubber Tree Plant" is the refrain indicating that the ants are successful in there task, since the plant has fallen...


But as my grandmother use to say, "Its six of one or half a dozen of another."
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by:DanRollins
ID: 19570862
A Barbara Taylor Bradford book calls that phrase "a wonderful Yorkshire saying"  (a reply after one character says, "She think's she's the heir apparent...")

The meaning is pretty obvious.  

I'd not be surprised to find that it is colloquial to England, or even just Yorkshire -- I've never heard the phrase in the Western U.S. (or on American TV, etc.)

On a personal note:  
I, myself, would never say such a thing to a child.  A young child would hear only the surface message, and not the more subtle underlying message (about *wishful* thinking or *hasty* thinking or *not* thinking).  I'd never say something that might discourage thinking.
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by:AbacusInfoTech
ID: 19575584
Thanks all for your posts.

Though BobSiemens is not fully confident of his response, I think he is the nearest to it with his second comment.

By definition then, LocoTechCJ also has it right when he/she says: "you'll fool yourself into thinking something that is not."

And -mystique- "you should first examine the subject more thoroughly before you make a decision and judgment as to what something really is.  " is there too.

Thanks.
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by:arthurjb
ID: 19579202
I gave you the proper meaning and background of the phrase!
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by:AbacusInfoTech
ID: 19580773
Hi Arthur, I hope I haven't assigned points badly here. I can see where you gave me background to the phrase about the Rubber Tree Plant, but not my phrase....?
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