Poor Sparrow’s Almanac


In a “free store” in Woodstock, New York, I found The Autobiography and Other Writings, by Benjamin Franklin — an edition celebrating the three-hundredth an­niversary of Franklin’s birth. I’d already read the autobiography, so I began the se­lected writings. Early in our history Franklin helped define the American personality, most notably through his proverbs, published in Poor Richard’s Almanack: “There are no Gains, without Pains.” “Diligence is the Mother of Good Luck.” “Plow deep, while Sluggards sleep, and you shall have Corn to sell and to keep.” All that industry, hard work, and thrift — just reading it is exhausting! I vowed to write a new series of proverbs to counteract Franklin’s and free Americans from busyness and worry. My goal is to assemble an army of daydreamers.

Don’t put off till tomorrow what you can put off for three days.
There will be plenty of time to work when you’re dead.
Jesus quit his job.
The unexamined life is not worth examining.
Even God worked for only six days, then took a vacation.
Smart people save their pennies; fools give lavish banquets. But who has more friends?
If at first you don’t succeed, stop trying so hard.
No man is self-sufficient (though some women are).
Sisyphus was a highly productive worker.
We have free-range chickens, but where are the free-range people?
How sad that so many hammocks are empty!
What looks like inefficiency is often happiness.
The rich chuckle; the poor laugh.
The concept of “stress” has made the world more stressful.
Tap your potential — but tap it lightly!

[from THE SUN, August 2012]