In So Many Words

Info-Comics by Larry Paros

Making Fruit Part of your Diet

All good things do come to fruition. Our efforts bear fruit. We enjoy the fruits of our labors and savor the fruits of victory.

Why not? Fruit has long signified an advantage, benefit, enjoyment, or profit. It should come as no surprise then to learn that fruits come from the Latin frui, fructus — "to enjoy." That enjoyment is many times bundled, as with your offspring — best known as the fruit of your loins — through whom you learn to accept both adversity and good fortune — taking the bitter with the sweet.

Speaking of "sour grapes," doesn't that make you resentful? Not really. People are just misreading the fable from Aesop. The story involved a fox who, unable to reach an attractive bunch of grapes, finally gave up, declaring he didn't care because they were probably sour anyway.

People not familiar with the original story often misuse the expression, believing it means something more general like "bitterness" or "resentment." Sour grapes is actually when you put down something you can't get, such as "winning the lottery is just a big headache anyway," or "I'm glad she broke up with me. She was beautiful, talented, warm, and charming, but she really wasn't my type."

We may say about fruit as we do of life and its rationalizations — "How sweet it is!" A phrase closely identified with comedian Jackie Gleason (1950s), one best noted for his sour disposition off stage. Not everything or everyone so disposed bears up as well, however. As Jesus reminded us, "A tree that does not bear fruit will be cut down and thrown in the fire."