There is no feasible way to trace when the saying “the early bird catches the worm” had been popularized.
What is certain is that it has been a popular saying that has been uttered by generations. The saying itself exudes an aura of wisdom. However, it is rarely questioned if what the saying is stating has some truth. Does the early bird always catch the worm?The saying is ultimately talking about punctuality. The saying is seemingly suggesting that punctuality should be regarded as a virtue. In this sense, there is no question that the saying is stating something that is generally true.
Being punctual brings people to opportunities.If we would analyze the saying bits by bits, let us first consider it as a metaphor. And as we know metaphors, things represent other things. In this particular case, the bird is supposed to be a punctual person, thus the word “early”. The worm is supposed to allude to something elusive., something that one should grab the very moment one sees it.
We should also take into consideration the concept of time of the saying. It would be easily agreed that the suggested time would be morning, suggested by the word “early.”If we take the saying into the realm of biology, worms are rarely seen in the surface of the ground, they are typically burrowing underground. The saying is actually correct in logic as worms would typically be surfacing in the morning. Worms are creatures that are not acquainted with too much sunlight. Therefore, worms would be still out in the morning wherein the air is still moist. In addition to that, there seems a difficulty regarding the process of catching a worm.
The worm could just hide back quickly on its burrow. The early bird could easily catch the worm if the worm is still drowsy from waking up early. On the other hand, birds feed on smaller creatures like worms. The saying is seemingly suggesting that the worms are delicious for the birds. Through this aspect, the saying could also be interpreted as pertaining to basic survival.
The saying also touches the notion of being patient. It is possible that the early bird had waited a long time before the worm had surfaced.However, all things are double-edged, a negative interpretation could also be unearthed from the saying. In relation to the precious paragraph, it could be interpreted that nothing would be left for any late birds. The early bird could be viewed as selfish beings as they had left the late birds for nothing.
Another interpretation on a negative note would be that the concept of time in the saying could be put in question. In the context of the modern world, there exists jobs and tasks that requires an employee to be up all night. These kind of jobs turns the world of the employees around as they would have to sleep during the day. Of course, they are just as hard-working as daytime employees. Therefore, the saying could just be an offensive statement to them.However, the giving the saying a negative interpretation is just extending the interpretation. If we would go back to the common interpretation that is about punctuality, the value of the saying could not be disregarded.
It is the simplicity of the statement that gives it truth. A person who is ahead of others is the one who is likely to be most prepared. However, it is important to note that the saying did not clarify about the word “catches.” The early bird could have just “caught” sight of the worm. It was not specified that the early bird had fed on the worm. There should be more than just being punctual to grab the worm, the opportunity.
It would be just as important to hold on tight to the worm.