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Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can’t Avoid

Lemony Snicket, who wrote the delightful Series of Unfortunate Events, has written a book of aphorisms. I loved his other books, though I haven’t finished the Series, and this one is in a similar tone.  I think some of it is taken from the Series, though I’m not sure.

While there’s usually some wisdom under the surface of even the silliest entries, sometimes he makes no pretense of humor at all, and instead delivers a serious, truly profound bit of wisdom. And then some of it’s in the same vein as Jack Handey’s Deep Thoughts.

I love the little stories. There’s one in the introduction about a woman who travels a great distance to meet the wise man on the mountain, and the tragedy that befalls her. Snicket explains it’s this woman’s fate which inspired the book, which exists so a decent amount of wisdom might be readily available, so one wouldn’t have to travel far distances to answer certain pressing questions.

One aphorism I loved—it’s hard to choose which to quote—is this one.  It’s poetry, very well put:

What happens in a certain place can stain your feelings for that location, just as ink can stain a white sheet. You can wash it, and wash it, and still never forget what has transpired, a word which here means “happened and made everybody sad.”

Another is:

Normally it is not polite to go into somebody’s room without knocking, but you can make an exception if the person is dead, or pretending to be dead.

And one more:

Deciding whether or not to trust a person is like deciding whether or not to climb a tree, because you might get a wonderful view from the highest branch, or you might simply get covered in sap, and for this reason many people choose to spend their time alone and indoors, where it is harder to get a splinter.

And still one more:

Fate is like a strange, unpopular restaurant, filled with odd waiters who bring you things you never asked for and don’t always like.

Now I want to go read A Series of Unfortunate Events, but I won’t, because I just got another stack of books from work.  Among them are: Brecht’s Threepenny Opera, for which I also have the music, and which I’m enjoying very much, and Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita.

And, of course, the 19 others on my desk, not to mention all the books I actually own.

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