Today is Wednesday, May 22, 2013.
To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone, and a funny bone. –Reba McEntire
This quote made me chuckle, but I think Reba has it right. We do need all of these.
The wishbone in birds is found in the breast. When people eat chicken with the bones in it, someone always gets the wishbone, and once the bone has been cleaned off, you can make a wish with one other person. You think of your wish and the other person thinks of his (or hers). Both of you grab one side of the wishbone and pull at the same time until the bone breaks. The one who gets the larger section of the bone gets a wish granted.
We all need hopes, dreams and wishes. They keep us going from day to day. They provide something for us to look forward to, something to reach for.
All vertebrates have a backbone, but it's not really one bone. It's many bones, a column of drum-shaped bones called vertebrae (one of them is called a vertebra), that run from the base of the skull down to the hips. The vertebrae surround the spinal cord to give it protection.
The idiomatic meaning of the word "backbone" is strength of character and determination to see things through or to meet one's goal. Just as the backbone forms the main upright support for the human body, our character and determination form the main support structure of our lives. Without it, we would accomplish nothing.
The funny bone isn't actually a bone, at all. It's a nerve! That's why you feel that funny sensation when you hit your elbow in a certain spot and the ulnar nerve gets bumped against the humerus, the long bone that goes from your elbow to your shoulder. The idiomatic meaning of "funny bone," however, has to do with our sense of humor.
Our sense of humor allows us to laugh at ourselves and makes sure that we don't take life too seriously. It allows us to look for the humor in tough situations. Humor is an important tool in life, because it can reduce stress, improve relationships, generate creativity, enliven communication and encourage positive thinking. People with a sense of humor are fun to be around, and they attract lots of friends.
If you have goals in life, the determination to meet your goals, and the sense of humor necessary to put your mistakes into perspective, you are fortunate indeed. :-)