"Sometimes you eat the bear..." (1904); "Tools of Ignorance"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Jun 4 03:58:47 UTC 2004

>>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>Poster:       "Yerkes, Susan" <SYerkes at EXPRESS-NEWS.NET>
>>Subject:      Re: "Sometimes you eat the bear..." (1904); "Tools of
>>How about "Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the
>>fly/bug"? Surely that's a much later, but parallel phrase.
>I've heard more frequently, "Sometimes you're the bird, sometimes
>you're the statue."  I don't remember when I first heard it, though.
Ah, but the windshield-vs.-bug pair was popularized by a country
song, which I've heard in a number of versions but was apparently
penned by Marc Knopfler.  The chorus (containing another instance of
the opposition in question):

Sometimes you're the windshield
Sometimes you're the bug
Sometimes it all comes together baby
Sometimes you're just a fool in love
Sometimes you're the Louisville Slugger
Sometimes you're the ball
Sometimes it all comes together
Sometimes you're gonna lose it all


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