Monday, November 23, 2009

Rules of Life

Returning from a wonderful day at the Christmas Market in New Braunfels yesterday, Rayda and I passed a couple of Pawn Shops.I have always liked Pawn Shops but seldom have gone into them. Anyway, passing the shops reminded me of some lifetime advice laughingly related to me by my father which he said came to him from his eldest brother, Worth.That made me think of all the other advice for life lessons I have heard and I thought that I'd relate some to you and remind you of a few others.

"Wherever you go in life, whatever you do, always keep something you can pawn" Worth Porter to Allen Porter- I laughed at this at the time, probably because I was living at home and eating for free. I see some wisdom in it now and if I'd lived through the depression would probably see even more.The problem is what to keep. Everytime I have ever been in a Pawn Shop there was a trombone hanging from the wall.Where would you keep the trombone ?

"Never open a gate without relocking it, never see a rattlesnake without killing it, never walk past a spigot without getting a drink of water." Justice Charles Barrow-
Barrow had grown up in the country down in South Texas where there is not much water, too many rattlesnakes, and cattle which can get out if the gate is not relocked.All three are keys to living down there. You perish withhout water, a rattlesnake can kill you, and even the best neighbor might shoot you if you let his cattle out.

"Never give a sword to a man who cannot dance" Confucious- this one has become easier to follow as the years have gone by. I always thought that it must have lost something in the translation.If the traslation is accurate I always thought that it just had to do with dexterity.Others seem think that it is about leadership and still others believe that Confucious is telling us that you must learn to love before you can fight.I guess the last two could be right, but I know for sure that your odds of living longer go up if you don't hand a sword to a clumsy guy.

"Trust everyone, but cut the cards." Mark Twain-This is one that I have preached all my life and never personally followed. There are a lot of people I do not trust and a lot of times that I wish I had I had been more careful with a decision.

"Never give a sucker an even break" W.C. Fields-This was Field's rebuttal to the "Great Commandment" of Jesus. Before relying on it, remember that when Fields was asked on his death bed why he was reading the Bible, he responded "Looking for loopholes."

"Always remember that even the most complicated legal problem can be traced back to one moron every time." Wade Porter-I discovered this early in my law career and have always referred to it as the "One Moron Theory".It actually very seldom helps the lawyer, but it is best used as a part of hiring practices by any company who wants to avoid problems.

"The Golden Rule"-Jesus, Confucious, Hillel- Every great religion has an example of the "do unto others" rule.I don't know how Confucious squared it with not giving a sword to a man who can not dance. It is the best known rule of life and also the one most consistently broken.

"Don't put all of your eggs in one basket"-Aesop. Or "Put all your eggs in one basket and then watch that basket !" said by both Twain and Andrew Carnegie (Twain printed this one first but it is alleged to have been "borrowed" from Carnegie who often used it). So which of the two maxims do you follow ? Well we don't know much about Aesop, but we do know that at one time Andrew Carnegie was probably the richest man in the world.You decide. But always remember that most chicken farmers back in the old days had only one basket anyway, so the point of the first one was often moot.

"When you come to a fork in the road, take it."-Yogi Berra-I agree that this one does not help you much, but you at least have the assurance that it is one rule of life that you will virtually always follow.

"Don't burn the candle at both ends." 18th century English saying- This one seems useless, who ever saw a candle with two wicks and, if you did, wouldn't the candlestick put the bottom one out ?

"The best laid schemes o' mice and men gang aft agley" Robert Burns-This one starts out allright, but requires that you be carrying around a Scotish dictionary to really get any use out of it.

"Eighty percent of success is just showing up" Woody Allen- I am not sure how he quantified it, but the sentiment is correct. Always show up and "Always tell the truth, that will gratify some people and astonish the others."- Mark Twain

There you have it, we could have gone on all day of course,but there is only so much advice you can hear, and even less that you can take.I think the best way to sum up the ultimate rule of life is "Be careful of the advice you take, it is often quite expensive and even more often, worth exactly what you paid for it. Nothing."


Blogger Paul D. Frazier said...

"Bad decisions make good stories."

Glad you are back writing. You were missed.

2:25 PM  

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