Friday, November 13, 2009

OPINION: The Hurrier I Am, The Behinder I Get

Magdalena Potluck
by Margaret Wiltshire

This is a version of a Pennsylvania Dutch (German-American) folk wisdom. It’s similar to the carpenter’s “measure twice, cut once”. Things done in a hurry often need to be redone. When I was young enough for quickness, I resented being reminded of this. I’m much slower today, use to being behind in my efforts. Now I think it is a fine piece of wisdom.
One thing I noticed and still value about this expression, besides the “cute” misuse of the language, is the responsibility taking. It doesn’t say, you hurry, and you’ll mess up and that makes you a blah, blah, blah...
It has empathy. Anyone who hurries may mess up, just like I do, and I wish better for you. The hurrier I go, the behinder I get (I hope we do better). It’s firm, inclusive, and not abusive.
Believe me, if you heard this in the Pennsylvania and Upstate New York dairy farming country, it is a serious suggestion.
In this modern American country we get our folk wisdom from many different cultures. We pick up meaningful oral wisdom, or not wisdom, from movies, books, tv and among our friends and family.
“Use the force”, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn”, “Can’t we all just get along” , “Be Good” and “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’ll get.” There was “where’s the beef?” and now we will probably be hearing “My name is ram and my tank’s full.” Don’t forget, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more.” So it goes.
We are a complex society, with a sense of humor.
These “folk” sayings often put a smile on our faces. Yet we often use them with a greater, deeper meaning. If it is written by an Ad person or a film script writer, it doesn’t matter.
When we the people choose them, repeat them, they become our folk wisdom and cultural statements.
Sometimes however, things just “stick in my crawl” and are “hard to swallow” , “gag me with a spoon” and I just want to “spit it back out”. Or I just “can’t digest it.”
More folk wisdom.
“Trust your gut.” “A spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down.” “Take it with a grain of salt.”
It doesn’t always “ring true” that we in the United States want “liberty and justice for all”.
As a people, we always want to make things better, or as GE once said, “Bring Good Things to Life”. Something we all seem to have in common, we want life to be good. When it is not, we want to say something about it.
Before life was a box of chocolates, life was a jigsaw puzzle. Where that came from was before my time. As a kid, I thought life was meant to be a box of chocolates. The jigsaw puzzle thing didn’t mean much to me. How things change.
The bad news is life is like a box of chocolates and many of us have had too many.
The good news is life is a jigsaw puzzle. We are each one piece of many. When we are connected, as we are meant to be, we are whole.

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