First Anniversary Reflections

On the first-year anniversary of my blog I offer heart-felt thanks to YOU for visiting “Clancy’s Quotes.” As I prepare this anniversary issue, together we are closing in on 12,000 page views, which averages out to be 1,000 views per month, 230 views per week, and 33 views per day. I realize that the numbers would increase dramatically if I pandered to the culture with crude humor, naked pictures, and stories about the celebrity du jour. Rest assured that won’t happen on this site.

Occasionally some of you will write to share how a particular quote has touched your soul or was especially timely. While I appreciate it, it’s important for me to remember and acknowledge that the quotations were invented by others. As for the timing, that is either a matter of chance or God’s choice. So, except for the connecting thoughts, I’m just the delivery boy.

Speaking of  deliverers, isn’t it strange how delivering pizza is considered a humble occupation whereas delivering the news is exalted? Delivering people to their destination in a bus is less glamorous than doing the same by airplane. Personally, I appreciate “Matt the pizza delivery man” much more than Katie Couric the news delivery lady (no offense intended).

“The society which scorns excellence in plumbing as a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy…neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water.”
— John W. Gardner (1912-2002), president of the Carnegie Corporation.

Humility is a virtue, a very confusing and highly challenging virtue to say the least. I would say that having pride in what we truly accomplish is healthy and is not contradictory to humility. Pride motivates us to continue serving others and improving ourselves.

“You shouldn’t gloat about anything you’ve done; you ought to keep going and find something better to do.”
— David Packard (1912-1996), co-founder of Hewlett-Packard.

Pride gets in the way of humility when we desire credit for more than we deserve and turns ugly when it graduates into grandstanding for that credit.

Some people are born on third base and go through life thinking they hit a triple.
— Barry Switzer (1937- ), American football coach.

“What kills a skunk is the publicity it gives itself.”
— Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), 16th U.S. President.

Taking credit for God-given talents is wrong. Taking credit for the contributions of others is, too. Both are acts of theft.

“Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.”
— Malcolm S. Forbes (1919-1990), publisher of Forbes Magazine.

“Humility is to make a right estimate of one’s self.”
— Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892), British Reformed Baptist preacher.

Humility is graciously accepting unsolicited praise for one’s accomplishments AND deflecting the appropriate amount of credit toward those who also played a role. Humility is about quietly doing one’s business and enjoying the results whether anyone notices or not.

“A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small bundle.”
— Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), A Founding Father of the U.S.

Back to the quotes. I sometimes imagine becoming a prolific writer of Twain-like memorable and pithy phrases . I once envisioned Mark Twain suddenly standing up in a room full of people with his fist raised to proclaim, “Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.” As the oohs and ahs filled the room, he smiled and sat down again. Moments later he arose again to make another proclamation: “Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.” He bowed to the laughter and applause and sat down again. Hopefully this ridiculous mind video drives home the point that the 208 Mark Twain quotes at http://www.brainyquote.com are really just tiny excerpts isolated from a huge body of work.   Except maybe for Steven Wright, no one sits around thinking up quotes.

“I’m writing an unauthorized autobiography.”
— Steven Wright (1955- ), American comedian, actor, writer.

“If one synchronized swimmer drowns, do all the rest have to drown too?”
— Steven Wright (1955- ), American comedian, actor, writer.

On those rare occasions, when I accidentally think up something that borders on the profound (at least in my own mind) generally no one is around to share it with. This is probably a good thing. Embarrassment comes easily to rookies. Then again, we can only imagine the stupid or bland things Samuel Clemens said or wrote before he became Mark Twain.

The truth is, I am most effective as a delivery boy of other people’s great ideas. You know what? I’m okay with that. Your comments are proof that this approach has value. And as long as something has value it is worth doing and doing well. So, I will continue my best effort to seek out and deliver inspirational and thought-provoking words. And I’ll keep writing for the joy of it whether or not BrainyQuote adds me to their database.

God bless,

— CC

(1809-1865), 16th U.S. President.

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