Assorted Aphorisms

Being a regular posting of some of the sayings sent to me via my website, helpfully annotated and wonderfully instructive…

During the signing session after a talk I gave this week in London, a man asked me to autograph a copy of my book for his son. I always try to write a personalized aphorism when I’m signing a book, so I asked the man to tell me something about his son. He thought for a moment and then said, “Well, he’s a teenager.” I was momentarily stumped; I didn’t know any aphorisms about teenagers. Then I remembered someone had sent me a saying on this subject just recently, and wrote from memory:

You can talk to teenagers; you just can’t tell them anything.

Apologies are due to Martin Goldstein, who actually wrote:

You can always tell a teenager, you just can’t tell them much.

Which puts me in mind of Yoda’s advice to the young Luke Skywalker, sent by David P. Calvert:

Do or do not. There is no try.

Yoda’s cryptic quip plays off the same kind of dichotomy as this piece of advice, proferred to Renee Horvarth by an old woman from Oklahoma upon hearing that Renee intended to remain friends with the man with whom she had just broken off a romance:

You can’t throw out your garbage and keep it too.