OPINON: Advice comes every day, but does it work?

Each Christmas, my in-laws give me a calendar to prepare me for the new year.

The 2009 version featured 365 quotes about how to get along in this crazy old world.

- “Have no fear of perfection. You’ll never reach it.” – Salvador Dali, June 5.

It was a great gift. Maybe I should say it still is a great gift, since we have a few days left before I run out of pages.

- “I can scarcely wait till tomorrow when a new life begins for me, as it does each day, as it does each day.” – Stanley Kunitz, Dec. 31.

I was supposed to pull off a sheet of paper every day to reveal a new quote. I forgot about it a few times, so I had to go through several quotes in a row until I caught up, or until I hit upon an idea that was worth considering for while.

- “If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four: If still boring, try it for eight, 16, 32 and so on. Eventually, one discovers that it is not boring but very interesting.” – Zen saying, June 25.

I hope some of that knowledge sinks in. When feeding idea after idea into the system, it’s reasonable to expect an effect. But it’d be impossible to take out a tally sheet to prove the 2009 calendar has been a useful thing. It’s been enjoyable, but has it done anything?

- “The great end of life is not knowledge but action.” – Thomas Henry Huxley, July 7.

A few times the wisdom has been on the frustrating side, and I haven’t been sure whether to apply it or laugh at it. Those are the quotes I spend the most time trying to figure out, but there’s usually no figuring them.

- “Madame, there are always two paths to take; one back towards the comforts and security of death, the other forward to nowhere.” – Henry Miller, Nov. 1.

On the other hand, several of the authors try to make the world out to be something ridiculously easy to understand.

- “The mere sense of living is joy enough.” – Emily Dickinson, Sept. 28.

Throughout 2009, some days were hard, and I had no use for advice from anyone or anything.
Other days were so smooth and easy that I didn’t want to risk letting someone else’s wisdom wreck everything.
Then there were those rare occasions, when the mind was ready for the message.

- “Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of each.” – Henry David Thoreau, Dec. 23.

Happy New Year, everybody.

- “I yam what I yam, and that’s all that I yam.” – Popeye, Oct. 25.

M. Scott Morris is a Daily Journal entertainment writer. Contact him at (662) 678-1589 or scott.morris@djournal.com.

M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal