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On a quest for gold, silver, insight

According to ancient wisdom (dating back to at least last Tuesday), to become old and wise, one must first be young and stupid.

As my driver’s license will attest, I’m chugging right along on the becoming old part. Not one misstep there. I’m getting better at it all the time. When I was young, three years dragged out between Christmases. Now Christmas pops up every three months.

Age? Baby, I’ve got it — and collecting more all the time.

So when does the wisdom part kick in?

I saw a bunch of my childhood pals the other day (talk about becoming old!) and I realized that our collective pool of smarts has shrunk from ocean sized (we knew everything back then) to barely enough to fill a kiddie pool.

“You’re learning so much,” aunts used to coo at me when I was in kindergarten. I should have stopped while I was ahead. By the time I figured out that the more I learn, the less I know, it was too late.

Then again, the grownups beamed with pride back then when I took long naps. Now they glower. My boss especially can be downright rude about naptime.

It’s just one more thing that the older I get, the less I understand.

The Book of Proverbs says, “How much better to get wisdom than gold, to get insight rather than silver!” (NIV)

I’ve checked under every couch cushion — there seems to be a distinct lack of gold and silver at my house. Sadly, insight and wisdom also tend to be in short supply.

So I’m on a quest for wisdom (gold, silver and insight would be lovely as well). I consulted some of the great philosophers on the subject. Join me in this journey:

“I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I am saying.” — Oscar Wilde

“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.” — Albert Einstein

“A boy can learn a lot from a dog: obedience, loyalty, and the importance of turning around three times before lying down.” — Robert Benchley

“Experience is that marvelous thing that enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.” — F. P. Jones

“Experience is something you don’t get until just after you need it.” — Steven Wright

“I never make the same mistake twice. I make it five or six times just to be sure.” — anonymous

“Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

“Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must be overcome first.” — Samuel Johnson

“The trouble with the rat race is that, even if you win, you’re still a rat.” — Lily Tomlin

“One of the poets, whose name I cannot recall, has a passage, which I am at the moment unable to remember, in one of his works, which for the time being has slipped my mind, which hits off admirably this age-old situation.” — P.J. Wodehouse

“It is better to swallow words than to have to eat them later.” — Franklin Roosevelt

“Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.” — Proverbs 17:28 (NIV)

With that last sage piece of advice, I rest my case.

Send words of wisdom to Cole at burtseyeview@tribtoday.com, the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook or @BurtonWCole on Twitter.

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