Thursday, January 17, 2008

Bridges

Sometimes what comes out of your mouth is not nearly as polished as it seemed when you rehearsed it in your mind. I stumbled, fell head first really, upon such a time last night at a homeowners association meeting (admittedly, they are quite often like running blindfolded through a mine field) – my point was lost in the reaction to my statement. I was unable to sleep later, disrupted by my concern that I had upset a neighbor and left others with a less than flattering impression of me. This morning while taking Linley to school, she noticed my funk and asked me what bothered me. I gave her the Spark notes version, explaining I was worried about perhaps having set an unintended fire to a bridge.

She, sipping her grande peppermint white chocolate soy milk frappe with whip, pondered for a moment, and then said: “Just remember my favorite Dr. Seuss quote, ‘Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.’”

I love that little monkey. She cracked me up. I mean here I am with a Ph.D. in human relations and a foot in my mouth and she is a cheerleader quoting a cartoonist. I did feel better after I stopped laughing, though. Although I won’t live by that philosophy in the strictest sense, I will use it to mitigate my worry. I’ll also remember this Aesop’s Fable:

A man and his son were once going with their Donkey to market. As they were walking along by its side a countryman passed them and said: “You fools, what is a Donkey for but to ride upon?”

So the Man put the Boy on the Donkey and they went on their way. But soon they passed a group of men, one of whom said: “See that lazy youngster, he lets his father walk while he rides.”

So the Man ordered his Boy to get off, and got on himself. But they hadn't gone far when they passed two women, one of whom said to the other: “Shame on that lazy lout to let his poor little son trudge along.”

Well the Man didn't know what to do, but at last he took his Boy up before him on the Donkey. By this time they had come to the town, and the passersby began to jeer and point at them. The Man stopped and asked what they were scoffing at. The men said: “Aren't you ashamed of yourself for overloading that poor Donkey of yours, you and your hulking son?”

The man and Boy got off and tried to think what to do. They thought and they thought, till at last they cut down a pole, tied the Donkey's feet to it, and raised the pole and the Donkey to their shoulders. They went along amid the laughter of all who met them till they came to Market Bridge, when the Donkey, getting one of his feet loose, kicked out and caused the Boy to drop his end of the pole. In the struggle the Donkey fell over the bridge, and his fore-feet being tied together, he was drowned.

“That will teach you,” said an old man who had followed them. “Please all and you will please none.”

Did you know that many years later, Abraham Lincoln said the same thing?

Well, I guess that’s enough for today. Thanks so much for visiting my blog. Now go out and hug somebody! And try not to burn any bridges, but if you do, at the very least make sure they weren't worth crossing in the first place.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Greg! I was at a retreat for high schoolers over the weekend, and the adult group used that very Dr. Seuss quote to spark many a conversation... My eyes just about fell out of my head when I read it on your blog. I think it's a great quote.

Marie