"You know we are on a wrong track altogether. We must not think of the things we could do with, but only of the things that we can’t do
George comes out really quite sensible at times. You’d be surprised. I
call that downright wisdom, not merely as regards the present case, but with reference to our trip up the river of life, generally. How many
people, on that voyage, load up the boat till it is ever in danger of
swamping with a store of foolish things which they think essential to the pleasure and comfort of the trip, but which are really only useless
How they pile the poor little craft mast-high with fine clothes and big
houses; with useless servants, and a host of swell friends that do not
care twopence for them, and that they do not care three ha’pence for;
with expensive entertainments that nobody enjoys, with formalities and fashions, with pretence and ostentation, and with - oh, heaviest, maddest lumber of all! - the dread of what will my neighbour think, with luxuries that only cloy, with pleasures that bore, with empty show that, like the criminal’s iron crown of yore, makes to bleed and swoon the aching head that wears it!
It is lumber, man - all lumber! Throw it overboard. It makes the boat
so heavy to pull, you nearly faint at the oars. It makes it so cumbersome and dangerous to manage, you never know a moment’s freedom from anxiety and care, never gain a moment’s rest for dreamy laziness - no time to watch the windy shadows skimming lightly o’er the shallows, or the glittering sunbeams flitting in and out among the ripples, or the great trees by the margin looking down at their own image, or the woods all green and golden, or the lilies white and yellow, or the sombre- waving rushes, or the sedges, or the orchis, or the blue forget-me-nots.
Throw the lumber over, man! Let your boat of life be light, packed with
only what you need - a homely home and simple pleasures, one or two
friends, worth the name, someone to love and someone to love you, a cat, a dog, and a pipe or two, enough to eat and enough to wear, and a little more than enough to drink; for thirst is a dangerous thing.
From “Three Men in a Boat” by Jerome K. Jerome, published 1889.
This was one of the books I found in the Älmhult Bibliotek’s select (read: random and sparse) English language section. I picked it up because I liked its plain brown covers with silver inlaid script. It was full of dry British wit and humourous philosophical waxing.
You can read the whole book online for free here.
Nobody will care about my time in rehab if they think I’m a writer.~ Annie from Season 1, Episode 13 of Community.
Bike lovers come out in the summertime.