MYLEAST FAVORITE teacher used to say that I would never amount to anything because I procrastinated so much.
I told him: “Oh YEAH? Just you WAIT AND SEE.”
I never got back to him to tell him what I had achieved, because I never actually achieved anything.
Also, I didn’t see him around town much, especially not after he died.
Still, I never forgot that conversation. And if I ever DO achieve something, the first thing I will go round to his grave and say to his stone: “See? See? TOLD YOU.”
My mother told me there was nothing wrong with being a late developer. It’s no use rushing things.
Why this sudden outbreak of deep thinking? Because I read an article which said that business people are becoming more philosophical.
And I keep meeting people who work for big nasty banks, but have thoughtful, touchy-feely jobs like
“Social Responsibility Officer”
“Designated Nice Person”.
Even hardnosed tycoons are coming out with philosophical maxims. One of the most ruthless business people I know uttered an uncharacteristically warm phrase the other day. “You should always love your enemies,” he said.
I stared in astonishment.
This is a guy who sacks people for giving to charity.
Then he added: “Because the chances are that some of your business partners will turn out to be @#$%^&* thieves.”
It’s not exactly Descartes, but it is relatively deep compared to what he normally comes out with.
The previous week, he told me that his favorite saying was: “Forgive your enemies: it totally screws up their heads.” (Except he didn’t say “screws”.)
He claimed it was from the Bible, but I thought it didn’t have the right tone. If Moses had written it, it would have been more like this: “And it came to pass that he messeth up their heads mightily.”
On a whim, I decided to investigate the source of this quote. Google told me it was a modernized version of a saying by Oscar Wilde: "Always forgive your enemies. Nothing annoys them more."
But a discussion with People Who Read Books was more rewarding. Oscar nicked it from St Paul, who in turn was quoting King Solomon, who advised you to be nice to your enemy “for thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head”.
So the ruthless business guy was right: it WAS from the Bible.
That proves that if a saying is wise enough, it becomes eternal, passed around for thousands of years.
So we should all try to generate new epigrams, and thus win immortality. (Many commentators on this site are already rather good at this, and are well on their way to immortality. I can pretty much guarantee that some lines from site will end up in a book of quotations somewhere.)
Here’s a piece of philosophy designed specifically for members of the white-collar professions: “If life gives you lemons, throw them at people. They totally won’t expect it from someone in a suit.”
Hopefully that will also end up in some book of quotations somewhere.
And then I can head off to the cemetery to show my teacher that I did achieve something in my life.
I’ll wave the book and say: “See? See? TOLD YOU.”