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There is an expression in my native language that goes "Don't try to give birth to a bicycle". It usually encourages someone to use a solution that has already been found, or to refrain from making some trivial process overly complicated. I'm familiar with the canonical "Don't re-invent the wheel", but I don't find it particularly funny.

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A variant on FumbleFingers' reply is KISMIF: Keep it simple, make it fun. But that's not particularly amusing. Maybe you can tailor the Irina Dunn quip "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle" into something like "Don't try to force fish to ride bicycles". –  user21497 Nov 22 '12 at 13:00
    
Yeah, but I don't want to make up my own (awkward) expression no one has ever heard before. Thanks for the suggestion! It is in the ballpark. –  Ярослав Рахматуллин Nov 22 '12 at 13:07
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Then there's Robert Heinlein's famous quote: "Never try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and it annoys the pig." However, that's more applied toward avoiding the trap of trying to get people to do something that's against their nature to do, esp. when they probably can't be trained to do it effectively. –  J.R. Nov 22 '12 at 13:07
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@Bill Franke: I'm not sure it makes much sense to look for an expression that is actually "amusing". Assuming we're looking for something used in common parlance, even the The Funniest Joke in the World would have worn flat by now. Though I must admit, even remembering the sketch about that one still makes me smile, decades later. –  FumbleFingers Nov 22 '12 at 13:09
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@J.R.: I read that as meaning he wants something intended to be somewhat light-hearted. If the requirement is that he (or anyone else) should actually find it "amusing", I'll just vote to close as Off Topic. ELU isn't a joke factory. –  FumbleFingers Nov 22 '12 at 13:14
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2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I'd normally say KISS ("Keep it simple, stupid!"), where you're advising someone not to overengineer a solution.

In some contexts, "Softly, Softly, Catchee Monkey" may be appropriate. It's usually used to mean Don't alarm {your quarry}, but it wouldn't seem unreasonable to me if you said it to a colleague when you meant We can solve this problem by doing something inconspicuous that won't require us to seek approval from the boss (in the UK, Don't make a song and dance about it.)

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We call that same concept "flying under the radar" or "rather beg forgiveness than ask permission". :-) –  Kristina Lopez Nov 22 '12 at 16:48
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An expression that has similar meaning:

If it ain't broke, don't fix it

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I'm upvoting this as the "funny" version of leave well alone, but I don't really think it has the same meaning as OP's - which I assume must mean either don't make your solution too complicated, don't re-solve problems that have already been overcome, or maybe don't attempt the impossible. –  FumbleFingers Nov 22 '12 at 16:44
    
@FumbleFingers, thanks! It's the first thing I thought of (after the image of giving birth to a bicycle cleared from my mind). My interpretation is that if a serviceable solution already exists, why put the effort into a new, and unproven, idea. (and KISS was already suggested!) –  Kristina Lopez Nov 22 '12 at 17:30
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