Friday, August 17, 2018

Quotable Quotes

If you're new here, this is a weekly column consisting of letters written to my grandchildren (who exist) and my great-grandchildren (who aren't here yet) — the Stickies — to haunt them after they become grups and/or I'm dead.

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Irregularly Appearing Imaginary Guest Stars
Marie-Louise -- My beautiful muse and back scratcher 
Iggy -- My designated Sticky
Dana -- My designated gentlereader

"I write my own quotes. Except this one. I obviously stole this from someone really clever." -Brian Celio

Dear (eventual) Grandstickies & Great-Grandstickies,

When I was growing up the current issue of Reader's Digest -- which made its initial appearance on the coffee table and invariably made its way to the bathroom -- was something I took for granted. Although we (mom, dad, seven kids) were a um, chronically financially challenged family, we subscribed to several magazines.

Life, Look, and The Saturday Evening Post were staples. These, as well as a complete set of the multi-volume Grolier encyclopedia -- purchased from a door to door salesman via an installment plan -- was what passed for the world wide web in my house several thousand days ago in the Black & White Ages.

My second favorite feature in Reader's Digest, the first being the humor columns that featured jokes sent in by readers that the Digest paid for if they published them, was called Quotable Quotes. It featured a couple of pages of, well, interesting quotes, hence the name.

Although to this day I have trouble remembering what distinguishes an aphorism from an adage from an epigram, etceteragram, wit and/or wisdom presented particularly pithily (please pardon my peculiar penchant for alliteration) has always been appealing to me.

For the record, although I told myself, upon the receipt of every new issue, that I would send in a joke or funny story and try to get the money, I never actually did. However, I once responded to Josie Carey's offer to be one of the first 25 kids to send in my name and address and won a book of Kennywood ride tickets.

[Cool. And what does that have to do with anything? And who the hell is Jos...]

Calm down, Dana. I'm waxing lyrical about my childhood and since this is my column, I'll wax anyway I feel like thank you very much.

However, for the sake of clarity, and my gentlereaders, Kennywood is an amusement park located near Pittsburgh with an h. It's over a hundred years old and combines the old-fashioned (if you don't love bumper cars there may be something wrong with you) with death-defying roller coasters (if you love death-defying roller coasters there may be something wrong with you).

Josephine Vicari Massucci Franz (Josie Carey) was the host of my favorite TV show when I was a kid, The Children's Corner. She was also a lyricist who partnered with Mr. Rogers, who composed the tunes. In fact, she came up with the words for "Tomorrow," the song Mr. Rogers ended his show with.

She was also a sort of second, electronic mum (that's the individual some of you address as mom for some reason) to me. I thought she was even cooler than June Cleaver.

[Geez, is this going anywhere?]

Well, Dana, normally by this point I know where it's going but apparently "waxing lyrical" about my childhood is what it's about. I apologize to any of my (literally dozens) of regular gentlereaders if they're disappointed. Hopefully, my grandstickies will find it vaguely interesting someday.

Just a sec', I'll be right back...

Thaks Marie-Louise! I was just reminded that I started down this path because I recently tripped over an offer to subscribe to the dead trees edition of what remains of the Reader's Digest and I signed up. I thought the existing Stickies might find it interesting and at the moment there's no bathroom reading stashed in either bathroom; everyone has a smartphone. I'm old. It's just not the same.

Also, it provides an excuse to post some of my favorite quotes that I suspect (hope) will stand the test of time and be useful to Stickies both eventual and yet to be conceived.

"We are here, and it is now. Further than that, all human knowledge is moonshine." -H.L. Mencken 

"He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how." -Nietzsche

"The ultimate minority is the individual and the fairest society is one in which individuals are allowed to rise to the level of their ability" -Jordan Peterson

"At this point I reveal myself in my true colors, as a stick in the mud. I hold a number of beliefs that have been repudiated by the liveliest intellects of our time. I believe that knowledge is preferable to ignorance, and I am sure that human sympathy is more valuable than ideology. I believe that in spite of the recent triumphs of science, men haven't changed much in the last two thousand years; and in consequence we must still try to learn from history. History is ourselves. I also hold one or two beliefs that are more difficult to put shortly. For example, I believe in courtesy, the ritual by which we avoid hurting other people's feelings by satisfying our own egos. And I think we should remember that we are part of a great whole. All living things are our brothers and sisters. Above all, I believe in the God-given genius of certain individuals, and I value a society that makes their existence possible." -Kenneth Clark

Poppa loves you.

Have an OK day.

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©2018 Mark Mehlmauer   (The Flyoverland Crank)

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