Interested in Language
I've heard 'Don't just do something-- stand there!' before, but now I just read an article which suggests that the saying is perhaps much older than I thought, even maybe of Buddhist origins.
Do any of you know more?
What is the sound of one hand clapping?
So no one has an 'Origins of sayings' book out there?
I recently saw an interview with the Dalai Lama on American TV, in which the presenter, in my opinion rather irreverently, told that joke about the hotdog to him. The Dalai Lama did not understand the joke, but the presenter broke down laughing.
I read it in a script to an audio file which came from VOA.
This is not an 'old saying', but a sort of joke based on an old saying. "Don't just stand there- do something!" is an old saying that means, "Get busy". By reversing the word order, we use humor to gently tell a person who is 'running around like a chicken with its head cut off' to relax and analyze the situation to figure out the best way forward.
The Buddhist and the Hotdog Vendor is one of my all-time favortites, but I certainly wouldn't be so rash as to spout that one to the Dalai Lama!
Are you certain about the age of this saying? Just as you say, I thought it was just a jokey spin on the other saying, but now I'm not so sure. Anyone know when it was first mooted?
I always remember it as "Don't just do something - sit there".
"Sitting" (sitting in meditation) has a meaning in Buddhism that 'standing' doesn't. The version with "standing" doesn't seem quite so witty (assuming that "Don't just sit there - do something" is a legitimate version of the original), which I always thought it was.