Great and Unmatched Wisdom

Sometimes a day starts out normal until a nugget of wisdom bursts forth from the heavens. It might start with a profound statement during a conversation with a friend, a quote from a TED Talk, or a meme shared on social media. When we see it and recognize it for what it is, we must stop to ponder its worth, then seek ways to apply it to our life. (Before you push share, run it through Snopes to make sure, though.)

Rarely does great and unmatched wisdom come when expected. One who has such merit typically doesn’t just put it on display. Rather, they humbly use their gift for the benefit of others. Think of the wisest people through history who we are still quoting:

Confucius, Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, Jesus, Winston Churchill, Maya Angelou, and King Solomon. If they had only had Twitter they could have changed the world even more radically. How many likes and retweets this gem from Socrates would have gotten?

I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.


Wisdom is deliberate, not reactive. It is the patient application of experience, good judgment, and knowledge. It is also something you either have or you don’t; you can’t buy a wisdom development kit online and flex new wisdom in 30-60 days. In great men and women, wisdom isn’t flaunted, simply applied when necessary.

Often, such wisdom is the “behind-the-scenes type” that we’ll never see. It is the wise single mother somehow making ends meet or the small business owner keeping people employed when others would fold. The wisest people may not be leading in the polls, they may just be living life a little richer than the rest of us.

There was but one pearl of great and unmatched wisdom dispensed yesterday. It didn’t come from Twitter or Washington, DC, where wisdom tends to drown. No, it came from my dentist. He seems a humble man and I appreciate his desire to impart his wisdom on me because it will be used for my good (and now hopefully yours.)

Angelically framed by the bright light behind his head, he spoke behind a mask of brilliance proclaiming that I need to:

“continue to brush the teeth you want to keep.”

  Friends, that is great and unmatched wisdom we can all use.


“You’re in rare form.”

Those are words spoken often in our home and they only pertain to two potential outliers: Me or our psychotic dog, Winston. 

A few years ago, I wouldn’t have described Winston that way. In his earlier days, he was only somewhat quirky. All that has changed with age. It’s a little hypocritical for me to label him so when the aging process has affected me also. I have added patch upon patch to my quilt of eccentricity in the past decade and my daughters truly fear the weaving process will accelerate until I’m living on one of their sofas in my t-shirt and underpants with applesauce perpetually dribbling down my chin. But I digress, this is about Winston.

Even in his state of mental disrepair, Winston is still capable of teaching us valuable lessons. 

He teaches us persistence daily. The dog is incapable of making a decision but he is perfectly persistent in his indecisiveness. When you let him out, you will see him perched at the door literally seconds later begging to come back in. Once inside, he circles the den before standing beside the door with a look of desperation to go out. All of this in a span of 23 seconds. And it continues until he gets tired and falls asleep in a heap.

The poor old guy is getting fatty tumors all over his body. We had them checked at the vet and she said there wasn’t much to do, as long as he doesn’t disturb them. As if on cue, Winston found one too alluring to leave unmolested. It was… on his weenie, of course. 

The whole situation was tense and uncomfortable to talk about. His weenie grew. At first, we tried to ignore it like we did when he was a young buck who might have had use for it. Oh, he was fixed, but that didn’t seem to always prevent his amorous attentions. 

But this was different. It grew a big lump. This is also where the biggest life lesson Winston can teach comes in. Gather round children because we all need to get this one: We don’t bite our privates. Fortunately for most humans, inflexibility has taken care of this for us. But Winston caused himself a big problem, a surgery, and a vet bill inversely proportionate to his weenie’s new size.

I’ll spare you the visual evidence of his size reduction. In the immortal words of George Kastanza, “There was shrinkage!”

There were so many stitches, thus the name Frankenweenie, and Winston had to wear his donut for a long time to prevent further damage (remember his persistence). He didn’t like his donut and had no capacity to adapt his spatial awareness to compensate for his extra girth. He ran into everything. It was kinda funny, but also a little sad. Poor old guy.

And I’m finishing this post at 2:50 a.m. because his bladder seems to have shrunk along with his frankenweenie. I’m not one to disparage and old man needing nighttime relief – I’m over 50. But Winston… he gets distracted. Just now I found him under the deck eating the scraps from our grill. I’m not even sure he relieved himself – but wait, maybe he’s trying to teach me another lesson of some kind. 

I have no clue what it might be, but… a burger sounds pretty good right about now.