Tuesday, 25 November 2014

little cups of wisdom

Coming down for breakfast in a New York hotel one morning in the summer, I was quite taken with the cardboard sleeve that is slipped around the coffee cup. Everything in the breakfast room was disposable - plates, cups, plastic cutlery and the food obviously.

What had caught my bleary eye was that there was a little aphorism printed on mine. There was a different one on Mrs Dave's. I wandered over to the stack of sleeves to find that each of them had different aphorisms on them. I collected a few as I thought they were an interesting idea. The 100% recycled cardboard had each aphorism printed in dark blue on them. To me a sleeve - what I now know to be a zarf - is simply there to help stop scalding your fingers. But no, even here there is an opportunity to offer Life Coaching. At least it reminds me to "take care" which is thoughtful. In truth, I thought that I could write a song using the different aphorisms. I was going to call it "Little Cups of Wisdom" then promptly forgot about it. One told me to "flip the switch because the best form of light is natural" and another, in the photo on the left, reminds me to breathe if I'm feeling stressed. Presumably because if I,m stressed, I'll forget to do what I've been doing for the past fifty eight years.

This morning whilst idly looking through some articles in the Guardian on-line I came across this one which reminded me of those aphoristic sleeves ( I can't bring myself to seriously use the above term). We don't seem to be able to escape these helpful words. In the article the writer tells us that "inspirational quotes have become a key indicator of a person worth following." Most people I know hate these little words of wisdom.

The idea that as we have become more secularised we feel the need for "a kind of verified wisdom that seems both omnipotent and instinctive, timeless and personal" could be true. I'll add to these irritating messages the rise in company slogans - even schools have them. They call them "Mission Statements". Ours, believe it or not, is "Making our best better" which I find ludicrous.If our best students are already the "best" how can they become "better"? What idiot thought that was a great Mission Statement?

I'm beginning to get stressed. Where's that zarf? What did it say?

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