A Bee in One’s Bonnet

It’s Friday, it’s spring break. Not much happening around these parts today, and there hasn’t been since Wednesday. I a lot of copy cataloging done for the special collections, and worked with the archivist to clean up our digital collections landing page. I almost blew the building up yesterday trying to learn how to use Adobe Illustrator which was interesting. But, I got by with a little help from my friends, and ended up making a pretty cool new header for our online stuff. All was not lost, but today it’s hard to feel motivated. Cataloging is fun, but it’s an ongoing job, it’s never going to be finished. Sometimes that gets me down. I’m never going to get through all the piles, it’s impossible there’s always more books, more information. I guess in another way that makes me happy that the flow of information, knowledge and entertainment is so abundant.

The upside of all this weeks working is that I have a weekend off. What? A whole weekend? A Saturday AND Sunday like the rest of them? Yes. So I’m here doing my roulette early and to wish everybody a happy St. Patty’s Day. Since the weather in So Cal has been so nice, I decided to celebrate a little early last night, and go drink beers on outside patios. This could be what is contributing to my overall resistance to be enthusiastic this morning, but I think I will start to perk up in an hour or so. I have given myself the assignment of finishing my coffee and drinking a gigantic bottle of electrolyte water by the time 11:30 rolls around, it’s doable.

As I was grumping along towards my office this morning, I found a book that jumped out at me ever so sarcastically from the reference shelf. It’s called: Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries: And Other Delicious Sayings by Anne Beltran.

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Here’s the sayings I opened up to today:

The proof is in the pudding. You cannot be sure that you have succeeded until you examine the result of your efforts.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. People often mean well but do bad things. (Can be a strong rebuke implying the person you are addressing did something bad and his or her good intentions do not matter).

The rotten apple spoils the barrel. A bad person influences everyone he or she comes into contact with, making them bad too. (Also the cliché a rotten apple, a person who is corrupting others.

The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. People cannot do what they know they ought to do; people are not always physically capable of doing what they are willing to do. (Biblical).

(Beltran, 1997, p. 206-7)

What are these sayings really? Advice, warnings, and casual conversational phrases we use to describe situations that we all face in life? There is something about saying things in such a way that resonates with us. As humans, we don’t always point blank say what we mean, and I think the reason is that the story or real life example that we attach to it may help us understand the lesson that the words are trying to say to us on a deeper level. For me, it’s something in the visualization of it, and how I relate it to things I’ve known in my various experiences. I actually really like the proof is in the pudding and use it quite often even though it may be a little antiquated. I don’t eat pudding on the regular, nor do I think making it is some enormous feat that would warrant a sense of accomplishment that you indeed could do something amazing as mixing water with some powder and letting it sit in the bowl in the fridge for two hours. But it makes sense to me. Like hey, you can say all this crap, and act like the actions you are taking mean something, but the results are what really matters. The results are where the truth lies. So stop talking about it and be about it, make sure your pudding is full of proof.

Of course the road to hell one is pretty common too. It reminds us that “intention” is not really what matters, it’s where the deed or action ends up that makes the difference. Like the time I meant to save a bee that was trapped in my house, but ended up ripping off one of his legs, and probably ultimately being the cause of his death in the process. I wanted to get him outside and back to his happy bee life, but I really was the major contributing factor in his death (I still feel guilty about it months later). But does the fact that I MEANT to help matter, nope? The bee is still dead.

Sorry bee, I really am.

So what’s your favorite saying? Is there one that you use often, just one that comes to mind that makes you laugh or reminds you of a situation you are facing in your life? Say it to somebody today, see if they understand what the heck you mean by it.

Bertram, A. (1997). Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries: And Other Delicious Sayings. Lincolnwood, IL; NTC Publishing Group.

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