Today’s Times Book Review section has a nicely written, humorous article on Ben Franklin and his Almanac: Ben Franklin is a Big Fat Idiot. The title makes it mandatory reading given my utter adoration of Al Franken. In fact, the author, Joe Queenan, seems to have a similar crush on Franklin.
To his disappointment, Queenan discovers that the Almanac was not nearly as inspirational as he remembered, so he laments the resulting bit of tarnish on Franklin’s halo. His claims that Franklin’s aphorisms fail “the acid test of validity and usefulness.” Take this one, for example: “Keep your mouth wet, feet dry.”
Franklin’s aphorisms draw to mind Facebook status updates. Ben seems to have written down whatever little thing came to his mind — short bits of words, conventional wisdom, and whatever stuff made sense to him and his neighbors. “Every little makes a mickle.” WTF? A mickle is the equivalent of a lot. It’s in Harry Potter. A lot.
If Queenan’s article had a comment section, which it doesn’t, I’d post something encouraging, along the lines of “Dude, just to enjoy the status updates for what they are, and give ol’ Ben some of his glow back.”