“Just cause you got the monkey off your back doesn’t mean the circus has left town.” For as long as I can remember I’ve liked aphorisms, those pithy aspirational adages that run from the comedic to the cerebral. My lawyer buddy Mark and I have exchanged them for years. He calls his collection a compendium, which he’s promised to share with me for the better part of the past decade — but he’s yet to make good on the promise.
I have my own collection of quotes and aphorisms. Many have found their way into this blog. However, I’ll not call my odd assortment of poems, essays, maxims and expressions any kind of body of knowledge rising to a compendium.
Anyway, I thought of memorable sayings and of George Carlin’s above-mentioned aphorism for two reasons this morning. The first was on news that over-the-hill and never-much-of-an-actor Steven Seagal just announced he may run for Arizona Governor. If he does, he’ll join a crowded field for Arizona’s gubernatorial election, which takes place November 4, 2014. And though she’s supposed to be term-limited, the finger-wagging, grammar-challenged incumbent Governor Jan Brewer, who’s a few clowns short of a circus, continues to mull a run for a third term.
Either way, with disbarred former Maricopa County Attorney Andy Thomas already poised to run — along with a slew of the usual reactionaries Arizona’s well-known for, the state’s national standing as “Meth Lab of Democracy” will remain virtually secure. And so, the circus won’t be leaving town.
The Three Simple Rules.
But on a more positive note, the second reason I thought of maxims and memorable sayings today was on reading the “Three Simple Rules That Could Change Your Life.” Sure some will call it a rehash of the well-worn maxim, ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’ or more colorfully, just another reminder ‘to grow a pair.’
And if an old buddy of mine happens to read this, I know he’ll cringe. Years after his restaurant failed, he’d half-jokingly still remind me how he wished he’d never read Theodore Roosevelt’s framed words on my office credenza, “The Man in the Arena.”
You know the one, about “the man in the arena . . . who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” With a wry smile on his face, my friend would ‘blame’ me for having had Roosevelt’s motivational words around to re-inspire his lifelong restaurant ownership dream and eventually unsuccessful career-switch.
All the same, the honesty and truth of “the three simple rules” are timeless even in this latest iteration:
“1. If you do not go after what you want, you’ll never have it.
2. If you do not ask, the answer will always be no.
3. If you do not step forward, you will always be in the same place.”
Photo Credits: Organ grinder at the local Harvest Festival, Wikimedia Commons, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic; Steven Seagal, Wikipedia Commons, by Khom-manag, cropped by Dr. Blofeld, under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication; Pollice Verso by Jean-Léon Gérôme at Wikipedia Commons, public domain.