When you wallow with pigs - expect to get dirty!
|I conducted a short interview with a gentleman the other day that many consider to be an ornery old cuss. In order to protect the guilty, I will not reveal his name so we’ll simply call him - Jethro Dali Lama.
Despite the harsh rumors surrounding Jethro being touched in the head, the insight he provided on most of the questions asked of him was extraordinarily revealing. Here are some of the questions we covered:
“What can you do about someone who refuses to cooperate with the rest of the town on every important matter simply because he or she want’s to be the center of attention?” I asked.
“Life is simpler if you plow around the stump,” Jethro replied.
“How do you explain to a parent who screams and yells if everything their kids fail to do is not exactly as they demand?”
“Words that sink into your ears are whispered, not yelled,” Jethro noted.
“How long should you carry a grudge against someone or some group?”
“Forgive your enemies, it messes up their heads,” said Jethro.
“How do you go about apologizing to someone that you have told lies about?
Jethro said, “You cannot unsay a cruel, or unkind word.”
“What advice would you give to all newly wed couples?
“Every path has a few puddles.”
“What advice would you give to a young wife whose husband spends all his time at the bar or in the barn drinking with his buddies?”
“When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty,” Jethro said.
“How do you advise a young minister when he deviates from what he preaches in church?”
“The best sermons are lived, not preached.”
“What should you say to a police officer when you’ve been pulled over?”
“Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer,” Jethro said.
“How do you go about asking the boss for a raise?”
“Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.”
“What should you say to your spouse when you come home late without a good excuse?”
“If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging.”
“Should you join in with a group of people even if you disagree with what they’re doing?
“My advice is to always drink upstream from the herd.”
“What can you do about youngsters who will not learn from our mistakes?”
“Good judgement comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment,” Jethro replied.
“How should we resist the urge to pass on a good tidbit of gossip?
“Letting the cat out of the bag is a whole lot easier than putting the cat back in.”
“Who would you advise people to avoid as much as possible?
“The biggest troublemaker you’ll ever have to deal with, watches you from your mirror every day.”
“What do you think the price of war is?”
“In peace sons bury their fathers, in war, fathers bury their sons,” Jethro replied.
“How would you stop war?”
“War would stop when the dead could return,” he replied. “What a cruel thing is war: to separate and destroy families and friends, and mar the purest joys and happiness God has granted us in this world; to fill our hearts with hatred instead of love for our neighbors, and to devastate the fair face of this beautiful world.”
“What is your feeling for peace?”
“I think that peace hath higher tests of manhood, than battle ever knew. Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through understanding.”
“My Editor also told me to be serious during this interview so I am going to ask you some serious questions. What is your take on religion Jethro, are you born again?”
“Born again?! No, I'm not. Excuse me for getting it right the first time.”
“Will you please expound on your beliefs?”
“We’ll, the way I see it, We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness. Theology is never any help; it is searching in a dark cellar at midnight for a black cat that isn't there. Theologians can persuade themselves of anything.”
“What’s your take on the environmental issues we face?”
“Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher. And I also say thank God men cannot fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth.”
“What can you tell us about friendship?”
“I say that nothing but heaven itself is better than a friend who is really a friend.”
“You are so wise Jethro, where did you learn your wisdom?”
“By three methods we may learn wisdom,” Jethro replied. “First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest. The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”
“My final question is what do you think of writers and poets?”
“Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere. Creative writers make these worlds. As for poets a poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language.”
“Thank you for this wonderful interview Jethro, I hope to be back to talk with you some day.”
The more I talked with old Jethro the more I realized that he was not just some crazy old coot, but a man of profound insight and thinking. He may not talk much, but when he does, people should pay close attention to what he says. I did get the feeling that I had heard or read some of Jethro’s answers elsewhere. Then again, they do say that plagiarism is the greatest form of flattery.
(Editor’s note: Upon careful research some of Mr. Lama’s answers can be attributed to: Plautus, Dennis Miller, Jonathan Swift, Robert A. Heinlein, Confucius, Socrates, John Greenleaf Whittier, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Stanley Baldwin, Euripides, Robert E. Lee, William Wordsworth, Henry David Thoreau, Carl Sagan, W. H. Auden, and other great people as yet unidentified.)