We get too soon old and too late smart.
– Appalachian folk saying
Following the example of Benjamin Franklin in America’s colonial the era when he published snippets of wit and wisdom in his annual Poor Richard’s Almanac, I have decided to share some bits of common sense and practical advice with readers.
Franklin’s collection of folk sayings, adages, and truisms has been called “sage counsel with a dash of cynicism.” Mine may be better described as “bitter vetch with a dollop of skepticism.” Ben was a young and optimistic Poor Richard whose advice theme was “I want to tell you…” I am an old and pessimistic Curmudgeon whose advice theme is “I told you so…”
Ben said “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” I say: “Early to bed and early to rise and your girl goes out with other guys.”
The following aphorisms, axioms and observations are all original and completely mine. Except for the ones I stole from someone else. Or overheard in a coffee shop or bar. Or read somewhere. Or saw spray painted on the side of a building or train car. In short, most of them are borderline plagiarism, and the rest are outright plagiarism. But I’m not giving anyone else rightful credit for any of them.
So, here are sixty-five wisdoms, in no particular order, that I have acquired through trial and error over the past sixty-five years. Profit from this accumulated learning as you will.
Look up at the stars every chance you get.
It may be better to be a live jackal than a dead lion, but it is even better to be a live lion.
If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
Every forest has its grizzly bear.
A one-eyed man is a prophet in the land of the blind.
If the pitcher fools you with a curve ball, and you have less than two strikes, do not swing.
Rap is not music.
Helping people is the purpose of your life.
Contentment is not having what you want but wanting what you have.
An educated ape is still an ape.
When you attempt a double on game birds on the wing, shoot the trailing bird first.
The fats, sugars, starches, and oils in donuts may shorten your life. So what? Life is short anyway. Eat all the donuts you can.
Bats are Satan’s flying rats from hell.
If you are hunting doves, you cannot carry too much ammunition unless you expect to fall into deep water or catch on fire.
A dog is not man’s best friend. A dog is a bad friend, but an incredibly loyal and hard working pack member – if you are the pack leader.
Get it in writing.
There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.
A corporation has only one purpose: to make money for its investors.
The most adamant Christians are not.
If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody gonna be happy.
Hunting rifles are offered in more than 100 different calibers; the only ones you really need are a .30-06 and a .22 long rifle.
If you are a hunter, buy a pickup truck; all the messy, dirty, and smelly stuff can go in the box.
Go fishing only in good weather.
Coffee is the true miracle drug.
Drink good beers.
Spend time with people who make you happy.
Fight only as a last resort.
If you have to fight, fight to win.
Mow the lawn in the cool of the evening.
Gardening is the most beneficial thing you will do in your life.
Do not make important decisions when you are tired, hungry, angry, or confused.
We all wear uniforms.
Every medication has at least one side effect.
Do the work you like the most, not the work that pays the most.
Physical beauty is not a virtue.
Make a good plan, but remember that chance and circumstance will make you change it day-to-day.
Most of the great things in life happen at the wrong time, and the rest don’t happen at all.
Time spent with a friend is always fleeting.
Write every day if you want to be a good writer.
Dream big and pursue your dreams, but set realistic goals.
Take your time and do it right the first time.
There are some things in life you must never, never, never surrender until death.
Courage is not fearlessness. Courage is overcoming fear to do the right thing.
You will learn more from failure than from success.
Sing. Yes, you can.
Someday, perhaps in your lifetime, the wild lands and the wilderness will be gone. Get out into it now, whenever you can.
Learn that all life comes from the sun, water, soil, and air.
Speak truth to power.
All actions have unexpected results.
Tell her you love her. Tell him you love him.
When your children are young, hold them every chance you get.
Time does not heal all wounds. There are some hurts that never end.
We are all in this boat together, so everybody has to row, and everybody gets to share the beer.
Solitude regenerates your soul.
Be gracious in defeat. Be even more gracious in victory.
It is better to give than to receive, especially in boxing.
Your children will learn more from what you do than from what you say.
Convince your boss it was his idea.
Don’t sweat the small stuff.
If you plan to go through life as a one-trick pony, it better be a really good trick.
Try to hit the ball as hard as you can, every damned time.