Guest Columnist

Expanded aphorisms and pumped-up proverbs

Mr. Cranky's Almanac
August 28, 2023 at 5:00 a.m.

By ALAN RHODES
Guest Columnist

I get lazy in the summer and find it hard to work up the energy to write an entire column on a single subject. In a rare moment of inspiration, it occurred to me that I could avoid having to develop one idea over the course of an essay by writing a bunch of aphorisms and proverbs instead — those catchy little one-sentence sayings that cleverly capture a profound truth.    

When I sat down to get started, I immediately ran into a problem: I couldn’t come up with any original aphorisms or proverbs of my own.  As a solution to this annoying little snag, I decided to borrow some existing aphorisms and proverbs and expand them a bit with some of my own thoughts. So here goes.

A penny saved is a penny earned, which if combined with 140,000 more pennies might give you enough money to pay for a month’s rent on a basic one-bedroom apartment in Bellingham, but if you want to get into a nicer two-bedroom place you’ll probably have to come up with 70,000 or 80,000 more pennies, and for a three-bedroom place — you don’t want to know.

Right now some of you purists might be saying, “Wait a minute here, Mr. Cranky, aphorisms are supposed to be universal but you made this one very specific. And aphorisms are supposed to be pithy; your version wanders all over the map.

OK, fine, Mr. Stuck-in-a-Rut, you write your aphorisms your way and I’ll write mine. To continue ...

Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise, or so you might think but what it probably means is that you’ve spent much of this summer trying unsuccessfully to fall asleep while the sun is still blasting through your windows, which explains why you always feel so groggy and stupid the next day, not to mention the fact that you’ve been missing out on the free concerts going on all over town all summer long and your friends are starting to think you’re a boring, anti-social schlub.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and in case you’ve ever wondered where the road to hell is, it’s the Guide-Meridian up around Bellis Fair, but it could also be Samish Way at the freeway or any street around Sunset Square or all of Lakeway Avenue because this town is just getting too damn big.

Here’s another side note for you purists out there: I would like to point out that all of my expanded aphorisms have followed the traditional single-sentence model. Granted, some of my sentences do go on for a bit, but who really cares? Well, my 10th-grade English teacher would care, but she died 40 years ago and nobody liked her anyway.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away is probably really bad medical advice and I suspect nobody has been successful at warding off COVID by the daily ingestion of a Fuji or a Honeycrisp, and why would you be bothering with apples in the summer of all times when the produce tables at Joe’s Gardens, Bellingham Farmers Market, and the Co-op have been piled high with delicious summer fruits; you can find apples all year long, but just try to get your hands on a donut peach or Rainier cherry next December.

Slow and steady won the race, although such considerations are irrelevant if you’re a MAGA Republican because even if you lose you insist that you won, no matter how idiotic that claim might be. 

All things come to those who wait, but don’t try telling that to my friends Roland and Wanda who procrastinated before trying to get tickets to the recent Taylor Swift concert down in Seattle and ended up paying a scalper so much money for two tickets that they had to sell one car, take out a second mortgage and lie about their middle school son’s age to get him a job on a loading dock.

Every cloud has a silver lining is a really dumb remark once made by someone who’s never experienced a winter in the Pacific Northwest.

Neither a borrower nor a lender be was possibly good advice when Shakespeare said it back in the 17th century but just try buying a house here in Bellingham now without taking out a mortgage when the median home price is over $600,000 and wages aren’t that great, and the only people who can probably do it are super-rich techies who moved up here from Seattle and helped drive up prices in the first place.

That’s literally all the energy and profundity I can muster up for one summer. Enjoy the rest of yours, and right now I have an important appointment with a hammock.


Mr. Cranky, AKA longtime Bellinghamster Alan Rhodes, writes occasionally. 

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