Today I need to do three things. Fill out my planner. Do what my planner says. Find my planner.
Monthly Archives: September 2009
Mentsch tracht, Gott lacht.
Man plans, God laughs.
Editorial: Think of all the ludicrous demands made by the fickle gods of ancient mythology: sacrifice this virgin, build a boat, fetch me that animal, if you do this you live and if you don’t you die. On and on. I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about how some events happen in ways that are surprising and even poetic, as if the gods are indeed crazy and indeed have a wicked sense of humor. The impatient man just misses the bus. The composer loses his hearing. The marathoner dies of heart disease. But how is it that the alternative to the gods giving you exactly what you cannot handle is equally vexing: when the gods wish to punish us, they answer our prayers. This means the gods have us suffering coming and going– when they do and do not grant our wishes. The fact that both scenarios are coincidences means little to people who tend to fault or credit the divine for everything that occurs in patterns. Either way I certainly enjoy the proverbs and clichés that spring up around their explanation, especially Mentsch tracht, Gott lacht!
Nana korobi, ya oki.
Fall seven times – rise eight.
Editorial: The first time I heard this proverb it was mangled in the mouth of a young man who had made a series of colossally poor decisions that confounded common sense. The last in the series was to lie ceaselessly even when he knew that everyone else was on to him. Because the truth seemed destined to go with him to the grave I was thoroughly surprised when he eventually opened up. I asked him why he came around and his reply was the mangled proverb. The gist, however, was straight and true, and profoundly simple: you get up from the place where you fall. Nana korobi, ya oki. Fall seven times – rise eight. The Chinese have a proverb that makes essentially the same point: Failure is not falling down but refusing to get up. Here’s the sentiment told another way: When you reach the point where you just can’t give any more of your time or effort, stand very still. Then take one more step. (thanks, elsah cort).