He who dies with the most toys wins.

Discussion in 'English Only' started by birdman, May 18, 2007.

  1. birdman

    birdman Senior Member

    Taipei, Taiwan
    My daughter says her teacher taught her an expression: "He who dies with the most toys wins." She says she can't understand it, neither can I.

    So, big girls and boys, what doest it imply?
  2. tomandjerryfan

    tomandjerryfan Senior Member

    English (Canada)
    It's about greed. It means life is merely about getting as much as you can before you pass away.
  3. dobes Senior Member

    bratislava, slovakia
    US English(Boston/NY)
    Of course, it's meant to be funny! It's a reminder that in the end, all this greed, all this running around acquiring things will come to nothing.
  4. birdman

    birdman Senior Member

    Taipei, Taiwan
    Umm.... Thanks, folks. Based on your explanation and my comprehension, I now feel it is more than just funny -- it is also sarcastic and .... apocalyptic. We all are going to die. So when you win the game, you are dead, and those things you tried to acquire in your whole life mean nothing to you in the end.
  5. daviesri Senior Member

    Houston, TX
    USA English
    You are correct Birdman.
  6. liliput

    liliput Senior Member

    U.K. English
    In addition to the above explanations, I believe the way that the phrase is expressed is a joking reference to the SAS motto "He who dares, wins".
  7. GreenWhiteBlue

    GreenWhiteBlue Senior Member

    New York
    USA - English
    Taken literally, it is an endorsement of greed and avarice. It is never entirely clear whether a person repeating this statement is being ironic and rejecting it, or is in fact shamelessly agreeing with the idea that accumulating many material possessions is the way to be "successful" in life.

    It is a bizarre thing for a teacher to have taught to a student.
  8. se16teddy

    se16teddy Senior Member

    English - England
    The teacher tried to explain the expression. Birdman didn't suggest that the teacher recommended the lifestyle.
  9. dobes Senior Member

    bratislava, slovakia
    US English(Boston/NY)
    I've always heard it as a reminder NOT to be greedy or to focus on material acquisitions in life. Wins what? We all know you have to leave your toys behind when you die. I've always taken it as commentary on the absurdity of materialism.
  10. birdman

    birdman Senior Member

    Taipei, Taiwan
    The teacher mentioned this expression when she was explaining why jewelry, gold, etc. were buried with Pharaohs. She also mentioned most of the treasure ended up in looters' hand not in the Pharaoh's next life. She is a good teacher.
  11. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Interesting - I don't think I've ever heard this expression. I wonder if it's primarily North American?

  12. dobes Senior Member

    bratislava, slovakia
    US English(Boston/NY)
    Years ago, it was a bumper sticker in the US.
  13. LoCal New Member

    English - United States
    I believe this is a facetious comment meant to ridicule people who make the accumulation of wealth and possessions their primary goal in life; the very thing that makes the U.S. an "accumulation nation." Here is something that my teacher taught about this subject: "For what does it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world, yet lose his soul?" (Mark 8:36)
  14. Myridon

    Myridon Senior Member

    English - US
    The real point is that none of it ended up in the Pharoah's next life. (My apologies to anyone who still practices any Ancient Egyptian religions.)

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