This column originally appeared March 15, 1999.
Comes in like a lion … goes out like a lamb.”
“No, no, no. That’s not the way I always heard it. It’s ‘Comes in like a lamb … goes out like a lion.’”
“That’s not right.”
“How much do you wanna bet?”
“There’s no sense bettin’. You never pay me anyhow.”
“That’s because I never lose.”
So went a conversation between my wife and I while we walked together one balmy evening as the sun went a-wearyin’ west. Both of us cocksure we were right — and the other wrong.
Our bickering continued even after we got home.
“I can’t believe you think it could actually be ‘Comes in like a lion, goes out like a lamb.’ Why would anyone make up a saying to describe the obvious? No, it’s gotta’ be ‘March comes in like a lamb, goes out like a lion.’”
“Okay Mr. Know-It-All. Let’s call somebody and ask.”
“Good idea. How ‘bout Jan O’Connor?”
“You gonna’ call or me?”
“You’re the one anxious to prove yourself wrong. You do it.”
I confidently picked up the phone and punched in the number. She stood unabashed by the kitchen sink and listened, a smile of condescension already starting across her face.
“Mostly Books,” Jan proclaimed on the other end.
“Jan, J.T. Knoll. Linda and I are having a little, uh, discussion and we need some clarification.
She chuckled knowingly. “I’ll do what I can.”
“It’s about the March saying about the lamb and the lion. How does it go?”
“Well, if it comes in like a lion, it goes out like a lamb. And if it comes in like a lamb, it goes out like a lion.”
I fell silent for a few moments as I gathered myself. “Ohh … yeah … that’s right. It’s a contingency.”
I told her (sheepishly) about our debate.
“Well, I guess you’re both right,” she said — causing a little of the egg on my face to fall away. We visited a little before I hung up and turned back to Linda.
“Jan said ... “
“Yeah, I heard,” she interrupted with a whimsical smile.
We laughed ... shook our heads ... then laughed some more. I walked to the west window. “Come look at the sky. It’s turning crimson.”
She joined me and we shared a breath.
“Red sky at night, things are alright.”
“No. I think that’s’ supposed to be ‘Red sky at night …’”
Page 2 of 2 - “Don’t start!”
J.T. Knoll is a writer, speaker and prevention and wellness coordinator at Pittsburg State University. He also operates Knoll Training, Consulting & Counseling Services in Pittsburg. He can be reached at 231-0499 or firstname.lastname@example.org