13 virtues

Posted: April 4, 2012 in Humorous Bits
Tags: , , , , ,

Good old Benjamin Franklin, now there was a man with a plan. At the age of 20 young Ben decided to give his life some moral structure and devised “13 virtues” to help develop and improve his character. Pretty heady stuff for a 20 year old, right? At 20 I was still mixing reds and whites in my college laundry and then wondering why my underwear came out pink. All I’m saying is I could’ve used guidance.

In his famous autobiography, mystifyingly titled The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, Benji devoted considerable space to these tenets. Every week he focused on one and made a conscious effort to improve himself in that area. While admitting occasional failure he was convinced this roadmap helped make his life happier and more productive.

I got to thinking since I’m no longer 20, having recently passed that milestone, I certainly must have more life experience now than B-Frank had when he came up with his 13 virtues in 1726. I mean seriously, 1726?? Other than watching people suddenly contract mysterious diseases and die, how else did people gain valuable life experience back then? I suspect 20 year olds today have seen, done and heard more than most 18th century people did in a lifetime. Which is probably why the Frankster came up with the list. Boredom.

I also assume given the breadth and depth of my modern life I have mastered most of Franklin’s virtues by now, even without consciously trying. So I decided to look at old bi-focal face’s 13 virtues. I wanted to see how my life and the way I live it compared with Poor Richard’s recipe for happiness. This is what I found.

BF – Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
JB – If I’m reading this right he’s saying no food comas or drunk dialing. I achieve this at least 5 out of 7 days a week. WIN.

BF – Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
JB – I’m always avoiding the mindless chitter-chatter of other people. As is everyone else who reads blogs. WIN.

BF – Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
JB – All my things are in drawers, closets, shelves or the floor, so this is a no-brainer. The let each part of your business have its time part can be interpreted a number of ways. I see it one way. “And what’s that?” you ask. Let’s just say like most guys I read a lot in the restroom. WIN.

BF – Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
JB – Hey, I said I’d write this freakin’ blog and I write this freakin’ blog. I also fill my car with gasoline and pay for it when needed. If that’s doesn’t prove resolve I don’t know what does. WIN.

BF – Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
JB – In other words, don’t spend your hard-earned benjamins (heh) foolishly. I never do and never will. If you don’t believe me perhaps we need to spend a few days playing Call of Duty so I can school you on trust. And yes, you can choose whichever incarnation of the game appeals to you. Just let me know and I’ll run out right now and buy the gaming console and every version of the game if need be. Without hesitation. This is not a foolhardy expense. It’s all about educating you. I call that noble. WIN.

BF – Lose no time; be always employ’d in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
JB – I always use my time wisely. To reiterate, I have a blog. Duh. WIN.

BF – Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
JB – Every moment of every day I think innocently and am not shy in proclaiming it. Ask any judge in the state. WIN.

BF – Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
JB – I don’t believe in hurting people, never have. Except, you know, virtual Call of Duty people. But they don’t count because they’re not real. I’m disappointed I had to point that out to you. WIN.

BF – Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
JB – Unlike Billy Joel, I don’t go to extremes. I don’t even know where Extremes is. Is it in New Jersey? WIN.

BF – Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.
JB – I shower at least once a week, sometimes twice. That’s more than Mr. I Fly a Kite can say. He never showered. WIN.

BF – Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
JB – Trifles don’t disturb me. Tribbles, however, greatly disturb me. But he wasn’t talking about Tribbles, was he? WIN.

BF – Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.
JB – Ben was a sly one. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring. In other words, don’t go diddling in the diddle pond unless you want a child or have “health” reasons. He even takes it a step further with the nifty qualifier “rarely”. Nice move, Founding Father dude. No wonder you had like 500 mistresses. As for me I always say, “If you don’t have your health you don’t have anything.” WIN.

BF – Imitate Jesus and Socrates.
JB – Okay, I’m not perfect. Here I need help. I’m lousy at imitations. Plus, I don’t even know what Jesus and Socrates sounded like. IN PROCESS.

So my Philadelphia Prince, wherever you may be, how do you like me now?

  1. Very creative!! Great post, John!


  2. Very creative and entertaining!


  3. Well done! You are a model to all modern men.


  4. sparklebumps says:

    “Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.”
    I am a pathological liar, but I never lie about things that matter. And I only tell people they are asshats when they act accordingly. Woo! I’m good on that one.


    • John says:

      If you’re a pathological liar you could be lying about when you lie. Maybe you’re a moderate liar who lies about being a pathological liar. Maybe when you play it out it really means you never lie, you’re just under the impression you do. However, if you never lie and then say you’re a pathological liar what are we to believe? Does that make you a truthteller, a sometimes liar or simply a white liar? Or are you actually a pathological liar who doesn’t lie pathologically?

      My head just exploded.


  5. greg says:

    I dunno…I’m more inclined to imitate the mature Franklin during his French period. Dude knew how to party. Wisdom comes with age.


    • John says:

      I’ll have to scout down if he published Treize Vertus during those French days.

      All of us in the recently passed 20 years old club love to toss out “wisdom comes with age” at every opportunity. Sadly, for me it’s often because I forgot I mentioned it just yesterday. And the day before…


  6. whiteladyinthehood says:

    ‘don’t go diddling in the diddle pond’……..hahaha…


  7. kayjai says:

    Oh! Nice post!


  8. kayjai says:

    Wow…1726 sounded like a hoot. No wonder people were dying off by the truckloads and flying kites in thunderstorms. What the hell else were they going to do?


  9. In the words of Charlie Sheen – you’re WINNING! Yay! (And we thought good time Charlie would never end up in context with Ben Franklin!)


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