Historically Speaking

Making sense of it all!

Bad Is Never Good Until Worse Happens

Posted by Elyse Bruce on January 2, 2018

A bad situation is a bad situation but when something even worse happens, that bad situation looks good in comparison even if it isn’t good at all. In other words, one bad thing may be preferable to another bad thing, but neither bad thing is good in the first place. One just looks better when they are side by side.

The good-and-bad dichotomy is one that figures large in nearly everything whether it’s situations or events, and has a history that stretches as far back as the beginning of time. This is because life is always evolving and never static. Everything impacts on everything else.

In July 2013, the study “Mitochondrial Data: Bad Is Never Good Until Worse Happens” by Gitte Petersen, Ole Seberg, Argelia Cuenca, Jerrold I. Davis, Dennis W. Stevenson, and Marcela Thadeo was one of the Paper Abstracts presented at the 5th International Conference on Comparative Biology of Monocotyledons held in New York. The lead researcher, Gitte Petersen is Danish botanist as well as an Associate Professor of EvoGenomics at the Natural History Museum of Denmark at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

Volume 6 of “Wings of Oman” published on February 6, 2007 had the expression listed under the column “Wisdom Quotes” and attributed the quote as being a Danish proverb.

In the book “The Long Journey Home From Dak To: The Story of an Airborne Infantry Officer Fighting in the Central Highlands Republic of Vietnam” written by Warren M. Denny and published in 2003, the chapter titled, “The Slaughter On Hill 875” begins with this proverb. Like the magazine in 2007, it was listed as being a Danish proverb.

As it was listed as a Danish proverb, Idiomation decided to search the mid-19th century for indications of this proverb’s existence. An entry was found in the 1867 edition of “A Polyglot of Foreign Proverbs Comprising of French, Italian, German, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, and Danish, With English Translations” by British published Henry G. Bohn (4 January 1796 – 22 August 1884). On page 394, the original and the translation are found, with the original written:

Ondt bliver aldrig godt for halv vaerre kommer.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Henry G. Bohn was the son of a German bookbinder who left Germany and settled in London (England) where Henry was born.

At this point, the trail went cold and Idiomation was unable to trace the expression in English or Danish back any further than 1867 even though Idiomation knows the expression to be considerably older than the mid-19th century.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

 
%d bloggers like this: