Before you criticize a man, walk a mile in his shoes. That way, you will be a mile away and he won’t have any shoes.
How could I resist? After yesterday’s exhortation to embrace empathy, it seemed only fitting to also quote a brilliant variation on the old moccasins quote.
It turns out that the above quote is a perfect example of a paraprosdokian – a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to reframe the first part. Other good examples include my previous post from Ellen DeGeneres or my all time favorite, “When I die I want to go peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather did . . . and not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.”
I have always loved to collect intangible things. One of my favorites collections consists of opening lines of great novels. Who can forget “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times . . . ” Other greats include “Who is John Galt?” Or “Howard Rork laughed.” My all-time favorite opening line comes from Pat Conroy’s Prince of Tides: “My wound is geography.”
But lo, I digress. By far my largest stash of immaterial things are the countless quotes, words of wisdom, poems, and pithy sayings I have collected over the years. I have a library card catalog filled with hand written 3×5 cards with quotes accumulated from the days before computers had entered my life. In the intervening years I have made several vain attempts to catalog my precious to no avail. The first installment came and went in a HyperCard stack that is long gone. A Microsoft Access database of pearls of wisdom sits unused on an old Windows machine somewhere in the house. …