Don’t quote me on this – EKSTEEN BLABBER

Don’t quote me on this

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I still clearly remember Madiba’s advice to me at the function I attended with him, Thabo and a few other luminaries a while ago: “If you want to impress people, you have to avoid name dropping and using clichés like the plague.”

Who, me? Name dropping? Never!!!

But I really do love quoting other people, especially if their words were very witty or incredibly clever.

If you’ll allow me then, I will give you some examples of what I find funny or interesting, or gives me a “Wow! I wished I had said that!” kind of feeling. Over the years I have collected hundreds, maybe thousands, of these, and I hope you will enjoy this sample

To kick off, how about a few one-liners form the person whom I believe to be the master of the genre, stand-up comedian Stephen Wright. If you’ve never seen or heard him, he is the kind of guy that just stands on stage with a deadpan face, spewing out one hilarious line after another.

This is how Stephen apparently entertains himself: “Last night I played a blank tape at full blast. The mime next door went nuts.”

He also has interesting ideas for his apartment: “I just got skylights put in my place. The people who live above me are furious.”

Lastly, this is his view of the English language: “Why is it, when a door is open it’s ajar, but when a jar is open, it’s not a door?”

Do yourself a favour, look him up on Google (or Blackle, if you’re a Greenie) and read more of his wisdoms.

The world abounds with people who want to give you advice. This is the best bit of advice I ever received: “Never listen to advice.” I only wish I had heard this a lot earlier in life.

While we’re on the topic of life, how about this for a guideline: “Live life because you want to, not because you have to.” Doesn’t that just make a lot of sense?

Or as someone else put it: “Enjoy life! This is not a rehearsal.”

As we get a bit older, our view changes, as so nicely put by Jules Renard, a writer who lived from 1864 to 1910: “We don’t understand life any better at forty than at twenty, but we know it and admit it.” I can certainly attest to that.
As a final word on the topic of life, how about this piece of advice that has been keeping me going since a young age:” It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.”

Moving right to the end, so to say, this is what Johnny Carson, a famous American talk show host, has to say about death: “For three days after death, hair and fingernails continue to grow but phone calls taper off.” Nothing like some scientific useless bits of information to help fill a dull pub conversation, I always say.

I may have had a lot to say about the driving habits of Luanda drivers, but maybe (just maybe) the following is also true for me: “The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status or ethnic background is that, deep down inside, we ALL believe that we are above-average drivers.”

Of course the past is littered with people who made predictions about the future, especially as far as technology advances are concerned.

In 1957, in my book definitely one of the most important years of the previous century (private joke), the editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall had this to say about the future of computers: “I have travelled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won’t last out the year.”

For all you couch potatoes out there, how do you think you would have passed the day if the prediction of Darryl Zanuck, producer at Century Fox in 1946 became true: “Television won’t last because people will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.”

Someone else who cannot be accused of having good foresight as far as new developments are concerned, is Lord Kelvin, president of the Royal Society from 1897 to 1899. He had the power of his conviction to make the following statements:
· “Radio has no future”;
· “X-rays are clearly a hoax”; and
· “The aeroplane is scientifically impossible.”

I guess he has been spinning in his grave a few times over the last century.

There are a lot of negative energies surround each of us on a daily basis. I therefore make use of a few positive affirmations on a daily basis to help me through life. I have found that in the work environment, this one works best for me: “I assume full responsibility for my actions, except the ones that are someone else’s fault.”

Many of us (or so I hope!) are gainfully employed by some corporation and are therefore guaranteed some income every month. In the uncertain times we live these days, I guess it makes sense to remember that “I no longer need to punish, deceive or compromise myself. Unless, of course, I want to stay employed.”

I have stated that I prefer not to listen to advice from others. Well, if I have to be honest, that is not entirely true. For example, a Zen master once said to me, “Do the opposite of whatever I tell you.” So I didn’t.