Thursday, October 23, 2008
Epistemic Energy 10/23/08
A clever person solves a problem.
A wise person avoids it.
And what about a dolt like me? He invents problems.
In the early 20th Century there were vending machines for cigars. You put in a nickel and a cigar came out. On the front of the machine was a hole. You put the cigar in the hole and it cut off the end. One day my uncle, in his boyish curiosity, stuck his finger in the hole. He survived, but he learned a lesson. One I never learned.
One day, when quite young, I put me head through the railings of a banister and couldn't get it out. I cried for help and my mother simply said "Well, you got yourself into that fix. You get yourself out." I did. But did I learn my lesson?
It seems to me I've spent my whole life inventing trouble for myself. And some of it has been quite imaginative and often severe. It has been said that a fighter who has to invent an enemy to fight is no warrior. There are enough problems in the world, why do I have to devise and engineer my own? To give myself something to do? No, there's plenty to do. To show my mettle? There are positive ways of doing that. The agony and the ecstasy? Perhaps.
I've never been a sky diver or a bungee jumper, I've never wrestled alligators or been in battle. I'm just an authority at tying myself in Gordian knots and burying myself under New England rock piles.
My uncle went on to live a secure life as one of the richest men in America. I'm still working on that one.
Just think, I could have done something quiet, peaceful and safe with my life like being a counterspy for the CIA, stealing eagles eggs or milking cobras. But Nooooo! I had to go into show business.
DB - Vagabond Journeys