"The reward of a thing well done is to have done it yourself!" (Emerson)
After "It could only happen in America", as promised, I've redressed some of the balance.
This follow on piece comes the 1984 edition of "Thinks", here's a lighter piece from the editor, Ken Webb.
The quotation at the top of this page is a "filler". Quite often there would be a small amount of space left which was not filled in the magazine, and Ken and I would look for some suitable quotation to fill it. Emerson is a good source of these, and my personal favourite is "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines".
I came across it with a preface to a story by Isaac Asimov called "The Dying Night", and loved it ever since. It is a perfect put down to pettifogging nit-pickers. He wrote:
Some years before this next story was written, two colleagues and I joined forces in writing a large and complicated textbook in biochemistry for medical students. We spent days-literally-on the galley proofs, and frequently we came across minor inconsistencies. We would spell a chemical one way here and another way there; here a hyphen and there no hyphen; here one phrase and yon an alternate.
We despaired of getting everything perfectly concordant and one of us finally said, 'To quote Emerson: "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds."' We latched on to this with ebullient joy and thereafter, whenever the proof-reader questioned a small inconsistency, we would write 'Emerson!' in the margin and let it go.
So here now is the extract from "Thinks!":
IT COULD HAPPEN ONLY IN THE SOVIET UNION
Russians ban Trots
Soviet authorities have ordered Western Embassy staff to stop jogging in the streets of Moscow. They claim it was disrupting the city's normal life!
Running too fast for the K.G.B. to keep up with them?
IT COULD HAPPEN ONLY ON THE CONTINENT
A not so fast lady
A couple making love in a carriage of the Orient Express delayed the train for some forty minutes. She caught her foot in the emergency brake!
IT COULDN'T HAPPEN HERE
2p or not 2p.
A subject of some delicacy is the usage of a Loo - particularly when the Loo in question is in a space capsule - more particularly when there is a crew of both sexes - yet even more particularly when it does not function!
Such was the problem which recently faced the American Space Administration. They spent some months overcoming the deficiency at a cost of ten million dollars.
To think we still call it spending a penny!
IT DID HAPPEN HERE
As though we men did not know.
Some interesting facts have come to light in the recent discussions on providing new Telephone facilities in the Channel Islands.
Do you know that every man, woman and child in Jersey makes on average 650 phone calls a year? The comparative figure for Guernsey is 590.
This will come as no surprise to men with teenage children - hence the reason they can never make a call on their own telephone.
It also leaves we men wondering how - with the length of each call made by children and spouse - there could ever be sufficient hours in the year.
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