Posted by Smokey Stover on June 13, 2006
In Reply to: Get happy or die trying posted by ESC on June 12, 2006
: : HI
: : how do you understand a phrase like this:
: : get happy or die trying
: : this is the rephrase of "get rich or die trying"
: : please help
: Do everything to make yourself happy -- even to the extreme.
"Or die trying," as ESC indicates, is a way of saying "at any cost," "whatever it takes." In answering another question, Bob reminded us of the slogan, often attached to an automobile, "Pike's Peak or bust." What "to bust" actually meant in this case is open to doubt, but the phrase spawned numberous imitations, such as "California or Bust" attached to the vehicles of Okies fleeing the poverty to the Dust Bowl in the '30s.
There's an inherent paradox in many uses of the "or die trying" phrase, not unknown to those using the phrase. A similar paradox occurs when Buffy's friends (in BtVS) are afraid to go to the big high school dance because someone has trained his hell hounds to go after people in "formalwear." Buffy tells them to "Go. You're going to have the best time of your life even if I have to kill every single person on earth to make it happen." SS