BORROWING, LENDING, AND (IN)GRATITUDE

The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
Shakespeare | Hamlet | Act 1, Scene 3


LORD POLONIUS:

Yet here, Laertes! aboard, aboard, for shame!
The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail,
And you are stay’d for. There; my blessing with thee!
And these few precepts in thy memory
See thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue,
Nor any unproportioned thought his act.
Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.
Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel;
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
Of each new-hatch’d, unfledged comrade. Beware
Of entrance to a quarrel, but being in,
Bear’t that the opposed may beware of thee.

Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice;
Take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgment.
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not express’d in fancy; rich, not gaudy;
For the apparel oft proclaims the man,
And they in France of the best rank and station
Are of a most select and generous chief in that.

Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all: to thine ownself be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell: my blessing season this in thee!


It was Shakespeare’s birthday yesterday, so it seemed appropriate to offer up his opinion on this matter — or at least his opinion per Polonius in “Hamlet” …

In my world, I feel a clarification is necessary. There is a difference, a distinction as it were, between “borrow,” “take,” and “steal.” True the line is sometimes a fine one, but it is there. Let’s see if I can illuminate the differences.

To borrow something implies you intend to return said item, or, in the case of money, to return an equivalent amount of money … preferably during the lifetime of both you and the lender.

If you are asking for money or something else — but you do not intend to return the item or money to the “lender”? That isn’t borrowing.

If the lender actually believes you will return it, and you know you won’t, you’re a thief.

If the lender is your Mom or Dad and you never, ever return anything and they knows this, then it’s merely a little family dance you perform to save the feelings of both parties. It preserves the borrower’s pride and makes Mom feel less of a fool. Not theft … but also, not borrowing. Because, again, to borrow something implies an intent to return it. Absent that, it’s not borrowed. It’s gifted or stolen. Take your pick. Usually, anything “lent” to a child or relative is a “grant-in-aid.” I know I will never see it again. As sure as the earth is round and the sun shall rise, whatever has been “lent” is gone for good.

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Perhaps we need a new words for borrowers who aren’t really borrowers; who just want something from you and figure you can afford to give it to them because whatever you’ve got, they should have.

There are, in this world, people of this world who lack boundaries. Who feel that whatever you have, should be theirs. By some kind of unwritten law. Not the result of need or poverty. It’s more a sense of entitlement, that they deserve “the good stuff” and “life (aka God, fates, government, aliens, Those People) have deprived them of their birthright. Never ever does it cross their minds that they may be responsible — in whole or part — for anything that has gone wrong in their lives.

Thus, by this logic, if you have it, you have deprived them of it and should give it to them. If you try to share with them, they will take it as a sign of weakness. I wouldn’t mind the giving, but I mind the ingratitude. This is a great quote for which I cannot find the source. I’ve heard it as Oscar Wilde, Mark Twain, and several other people but cannot confirm it. Here it goes:

“I don’t know why he hates me so much; I never did him a favor.”

 

APRIL LOVE OR APRIL FOOL?

April in Paris, by Rich Paschall


One April early in the 21st millennium, I actually was in Paris.  I thought it would be exciting, even a bit romantic.  I am not sure my travel companion saw it in the same light.  Although he had never been out of the country before, he did not seem overly excited about the trip, much to my chagrin.

At the time I was working for a freight company that had acquired a nice collection of gifts for Christmas.  Since they did not have something for everyone, they raffled off the gifts they had.  The top prizes were the airline tickets.  Of course I had hoped to win the Air France vouchers, but doubted it could be so with such a large group.  There were other nice prizes and I would have been happy with any of them.  When they called my name for the tickets, I thought it could not be true and it must have been for some other prize.  I was delighted to receive the top prize.

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There were not really many blackout dates, but you were not allowed to cash the vouchers long in advance.  This allowed the summer flights to sell out before you had a chance to claim the date.  Being afraid we wouldn’t find a suitable date if we waited too long, we decided on late April. We hoped for small crowds and good weather.  We got one of the two.

Frommer’s Guide to Paris was an invaluable resource, not just for the hotel, but also for how to get around the city.  We also found the best ways to visit the main tourist sites.  With a little planning and a lot of luck, we were on our way.  We learned how to get from Charles De Gaulle airport to our hotel in the St. Germain neighborhood.  The location was ideal as the metro was nearby.

Our tiny room had a small balcony which looked out on the old Paris street.  The room had a tiny refrigerator which allowed us to stash a few items to save on all the expensive restaurant meals.  A small grocery store nearby was a welcome site for a few essentials.

The first night we made it in the rain to a small restaurant nearby.  I spoke no French at the time and the people at the restaurant spoke no English.  We were not certain what we ordered, but we started with French Onion soup which was nothing like the French Onion soup you get here.  The broth was clear and the onions were fresh.  It was great.  I do not recall what beef dish I had; I do recall it was quite good.

In the few days we were there we saw the Eiffel Tower and actually went to the top of it.  We also saw Notre Dame, St. Germain des Pres, Versailles, the Louvre, including the Mona Lisa, the Cathedral at Chartres and many wonderful local spots.  Despite the cold and damp weather most of the time, it was April in Paris!  What could be better?

In honor of this delightful little memory, I have our top 5 April songs.  I wanted to give you 10 songs as always, but I could not think of that many.

5. The April Fools, Burt Bacharach, Hal David.  The theme is from the movie of the same name.  In the film, Jack Lemmon meets the married Catherine Deneuve and decides to run off with her to Paris.  In this instrumental version, the pictures of Paris do not come up until 15 seconds in.  As Neil Patrick Harris might say, “Wait for it.”

4. April Love, Pat Boone.  This theme is from a movie that starred Pat Boone and Shirley Jones.  The song was nominated for an Academy Award and was a big hit for Boone.

3. April Showers, Al Jolson.  The old vaudevillian debuted this song in 1921 on Broadway. He recorded it a few times, including a recording for a film of his life story in 1946.  Here he plays in Soldier Field, Chicago in 1949. The aging Jolson still delivers!  He died the following year.

2. April Come She Will, Simon and Garfunkel. The song was recorded for the album Sounds of Silence in 1965 and released in 1966. Here it is performed in the historic Central Park concert.

1. April in Paris, Ella Fitzgerald. The Count Basie hit has been recorded by many. This early Ella Fitzgerald version helped to popularize the song.

ON THE ROAD IN BLACK & WHITE

CEE’S BLACK & WHITE PHOTO CHALLENGE: ROADS (ANY KIND)


How timely! We had to go into Boston today so I could pick up a piece of paper I needed from my doctor’s office. We were lucky. Traffic was moving, except for a short stretch of the inevitable road construction.

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They say there are only three seasons in New England: Autumn, Winter, and Road Construction. To be fair, Road Construction can overlap with Autumn and Winter. It’s just that it totally consumes what ought to be Spring and Summer.

We have re-entered the construction season. Garry thinks we never entirely left it because they worked on the roads through the whole winter this year.

The better news is they are finally rebuilding the bridge to our favorite park. It had become so rickety, driving over it was an adventure. Not in a good way. Our little park will be inaccessible for months. You can’t get anywhere near it, right now. Hopefully the construction won’t last for years.

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And, the day being beautiful, I brought my camera. I took pictures of the road, something I do only occasionally. I told Garry “You never know when you’ll need a few pictures of the road … ” Voila!

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