Sunday, May 17, 2009

Wisdom for the Ages

Thorstein Veblen
(Image from Wikipedia)

Perhaps every reader is familiar with this old but wise proverb handed down from simpler times:
"Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime."
These words are not merely wise, but actually offer excellent advice, unlike some bits of folk wisdom from the past, e.g., "a penny saved is a penny earned"? Some wise fool knew naught of inflation! Rather "a penny saved is a penny lost" -- to coin a phrase. Invest! Invest!

But speaking of improved folk wisdom, let me pass along one that my old Ozark friend Deva Hupaylo has forwarded, an even wiser varient on the old saw about fishing:
"Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime. Teach a man to create an artificial shortage of fish and he will eat steak."
These words of keen advice have been offered to us all by the wise old man of late-night television -- no, not David Letterman, but Jay Leno! -- and "oh, but they're weird and they're wonderful" advisory words indeed and have even inspired me with a way to make money, for as I retorted to Deva:
"In times of fish shortage, I would conspicuously consume fish and offer expensive fishing tips."
Deva, going beyond even Thorstein Veblen, observed:
"A born consultant!"
Me, a consultant? Really and truly? Well, undoubtedly a congenital defect -- as Deva has diagnosed -- but one of which I was entirely unaware before it was called to my attention. Nevertheless, I was raised to "turn lemons into lemonade," so I immediately made her an offer -- and just to "kill two birds with one stone" sent along a copy of the offer to another old Ozark friend, Pete Hale:
Exactly, and for a small fee (relative to what you'll gain), I can advise the two of you on better fishing! Hurry while you are both still solvent! A big mess of fish is guaranteed!
And to avoid charges of 'insider trading' -- or the consultant's equivalent -- I'm now making the identical, generous offer to all my readers for the same comparatively small fee.

Just ask now -- while you're still solvent!

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At 3:48 PM, Blogger The Singing Organ-Grinder said...

Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will smoke and drink himself to an early grave.

At 4:24 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Excellent . . . and good advice, too.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 7:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And he will develop a penchant for telling tall tales of his fishing escapades, and reciting the exciting days of his youth, including near misses by lightning, turtle hearts, swimming holes, etc.


At 8:58 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Better lay off the smoke and drink, then, Uncle Cran, so that we'll have plenty more tales from you.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 1:24 AM, Blogger The Singing Organ-Grinder said...

Jesus is our man. Dependency rules.

At 4:52 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

You mean "Jesus saves, but Moses invests"?

Or are you referring to James Jesus Angleton, nicknamed "the Kingfisher" and reputed to be an avid fly-fisherman? (The connections pile up!)

Or maybe Jesús María Rojas Alou, who -- being from the Dominican Republic -- might or might not have exemplified "dependency theory" as applied to American baseball? Jesús never did as well in the major leagues as expected, but who could ever forget a baseball player named "Jesus"? The announcers always referred to him as a pagan deity, however: "Hey Zeus!" they'd call out. Odd, that.

Jeffery Hodges

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