A friend who tried hard at dinner parties to be friendly, entertaining and amusing, finally realised that the secret of being a good dinner guest is to say to those seated next to you, 'Tell me more about what you do. It sounds fascinating,' In similar vein a professor told his students, 'The world doesn't want to see your sore toe. It wants to show you its sore toe'
Solitude is necessary, but we also need people to whom we can whisper, 'Solitude is necessary'. The human heart craves companionship. We become fully human only in relationship with others. It is in such relationships that our personalities grow. Whereas solitude expresses the glory of being alone, loneliness expresses the pain of being alone. One Friday evening I met a man who had recently lost his wife. He was carrying a bunch of flowers, upside down, as men tend to do. When I mentioned the flowers the man smiled and said, 'I felt I had to buy them today. You see each Friday when my wife was alive I took her home some flowers,' Later that night I saw a light in the man's lounge. I pictured him sitting there alone, with his flowers almost certainly just stuck into a vase. That started me thinking about the many lonely people who understand what Queen Victoria meant when she said after the death of Prince Albert, 'There is no one to call me Victoria now', and what Jean-Paul Sartre meant when he wrote, 'Without a looker-on, a person evaporates.'
In an essay about the harmful effects of oil pollution on sea life, one boy wrote, 'Last night my mother opened a tin of sardines. It was full of oil and all the sardines were dead.'
When a father was asked what his son was going to be when he finally left university, he replied, 'An old man!'
After forty-five years of marriage, my wife can often tell what I am thinking. When I do speak, she can often finish my sentences for me. We are not unique in this. I remember hearing of a wife who asked her husband what he was looking for in the cupboard. When he replied, 'Nothing, she said, 'It is not in there. Look in the top drawer in the bedroom.'
A golfer apologised to his companions for being late one Sunday morning: 'I flipped a coin to decide whether to play golf or go to church. I had to flip it fifteen times.'
When Lloyd George remarked that the most dangerous feat is to attempt to cross a chasm in two jumps, a friend replied that if you could only jump fifteen feet and the chasm was fifty feet across, one jump was not a safe endeavour either. In that case it would he better not to jump at all, but walk down and then climb up the other side one step at a time. Have we valuable insight into management here? Some changes have to be achieved in one jump, or they will not go through at all. But at other times, easy does it.