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AXIOMS, ADAGES AND SAGE ADVICE (an abriged story of my life)

Updated on April 5, 2011

Don't take life too seriously - you'll never get out alive anyway.

The Free Online Dictionary defines Axiom as “A self evident or universally recognized truth.” An adage, my home dictionary tells me, is "A saying that has obtained credit or force by long use." Either way, these are words of wisdom, passed on from generation to generation. Words to live by. But sometimes they contradict each other.

I come from a long line of hard working German butchers. My grandmother used to say, “Hard work never killed anybody.”. I took that to heart. I started selling newspapers on the street before my teens, and all through my teens I got up at 4 every morning, seven days a week, rain or shine, to deliver The Miami Herald.

On the other hand, I kept hearing, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. I certainly didn’t want to be dull, so with the money I made from the paper route, I bought myself a Cushman motor scooter.

I always wanted to play high school football, but I was too little. They gave me a uniform but I never got into a game. But, I remembered “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” However, I was smart enough to know that at 115 pounds, I wasn’t going to make it as a football player. After all, “Discretion is the better part of valor”.

When high school was over, I heeded the call to “Join the Navy and see the world.”. Good advice I supposed, but in four years, the farthest I got from home was Panama. Oh, well maybe it just goes to show, “There’s no place like home..

After the Navy and college it was time to try something new. My mother counseled, “Look before you leap.”. On the other hand, "He who he hesitates is lost". Still, I was impatient. I decided to “Go West young man.”. So I went to California.

After a while I started a mail order business called Cycle Shirt Shop. That was in the days when no one wore clothes with anything printed on them. I had all kinds of amusing cartoons and words about motorcycles printed on t-shirts and sweatshirts. I was ahead of my time. I thought, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”. I kept that little business going a few years and finally threw in the towel. Too bad, because later t-shirts with slogans and gags printed on them became all the rage -and still are today. It just goes to show, “Quitters never win, Winners never quit.”.

The best job I ever had was as advertising manager for Yamaha motorcycles. But I quit to take a job in an ad agency. I had always wanted to work for one and “The grass always looks greener on the other side of the street.” Also, "A bird in hand is worth two in the bush;" I’ve regretted that decision to leave Yamaha ever since, but my wife keeps telling me not to look back. She says, “Don’t cry over spilled milk.”.

In fact, in my less than illustrious career, I had about 40 jobs. Some of them, I thought, might lead to big things. But I should have remembered the advice, "Don't count your chickens before they hatch.".

I started another business in my younger days, too. That was California Motorcycle Tours. At that time, no one had a motorcycle touring company. I thought it was a great idea. I thought “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”. The business failed because I could not find motorcycles to rent, and that was because I was unable to find insurance to cover rented bikes. Today, motorcycle touring is big business. Lots of companies doing it here in America, in Europe and elsewhere. If I had been able to make it go, perhaps California Motorcycle Tours could have grown big. After all, “Mighty oaks, from little acorns grow.”. To put it another way, “The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray.”. Or something like that.

Over the years, I owned 37 motorcycles (or more - I may have forgotten a few). And I owned more than 40 cars, trucks and camper vans. Most of them were still running fine when I got rid of them. Some would be classics today if I had kept them, worth a good bit now. But as I said before, for me, “The grass always looks greener…etc”.

Same thing with my investments. Most, I should not have given up on so quickly. For example, I sold stock in Ford and Chrysler to buy Chuck E Cheese, which quickly went bankrupt. I should have remembered the old adage, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. Or maybe I should have studied Chuck E Cheese more - in other words "Look before you leap". In other words, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of gold." After all, I was pretty sure Ford and Chrysler would stay profitable for me. As my parents would have advised, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”. Or maybe “There’s no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.”.

Some of my other investments probably failed because I am too impulsive. I do things on the spur of the moment. I always overlook the small type, forgetting that “The devil’s in the details.”. Probably the truth is "A fool and his gold are soon parted."

I had a couple of marriages that didn’t work out, but like the poet said, “Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”. I did have very attractive wives, At least I thought they were very pretty. My current one, hopefully my last, is pretty and takes great car of me. She looks 10 to 15 years younger than she is. Of course, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." Anyway, "You can't judge a book by its cover." Remember, "Beauty is only skin deep." On the other hand, ugly goes clear through to the bone.

I wasn't successful with all the ladies, perhaps because I moved to slowly - "Faint heart neer won fair lady." And, "Time and tide wait for no man."

It would be nice if I could be more steady, less impulsive. But you know what they say - “A leopard doesn’t change its spots.”, or something like that. And, you could call me adventurous instead of impulsive, but “A rose by any other name would smell the same.” As a matter of fact, I just went out and bought two more motorcycles that I don't need and can't really afford.

It would be nice if i got paid for writing these hubs, but unfortunately, no one ever said to me "A penny for your thoughts." On the other hand, now that I am 77 and long since retired, I may as well amuse myself by writing hubs, because "An idle mind is the devil's workshop."

So, let me leave you with a couple of original thoughts:

“People who live in stone houses shouldn’t throw glasses.”


“Let’s go to the beach and leave no tern unstoned.”

If you didn't find these amusing, let me remind you, "He who laughs last, laughs best." Then again, maybe he is just the slowest to get the joke.


If you enjoy nostagia, and if you like motorcycles, you would probaby enjoy my book, OVER THE HANDLEBARS, First published in 1975, then updated and enlarged in 2006, it is a collection of short stories and articles about all aspects of motorcycling. It is available from I also have written two other books about motorcycling availalbe from  You can read all 3 of them on your computer for just $2.99 each. Go to


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    • thevoice profile image


      8 years ago from carthage ill

      well read great great hub thanks


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