The autumn leaves are falling like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are always two cups at my table.

T’ang Dynasty poem

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~


Saturday, October 18, 2008

3 in the Morning, 4 in the Afternoon



Philosophy practiced is the goal of learning. - Thoreau

朝三暮四

Three in the Morning, Four in the Afternoon


There was a man who liked monkeys. He had a lot of them in his house. He understood his monkeys and the monkeys understood him. It cost a lot of money to care for all these monkeys, but he was afraid to stop buying them food in case they get upset. So he tried to reason with his monkeys.


“I’ll give you three chestnuts in the morning and four in the afternoon,” he told them. But they didn’t like that.


“Then I’ll give you four in the morning and three in the afternoon.”

The monkeys were happy.

This morning, my wife had to leave the house early. A fine Saturday, I had planned to work on the landscaping, then watch football this afternoon, while helping my youngest daughter build a bridge out of toothpicks for her physics class.

She left me a note asking me to additionally clean the floor under the washer and dryer. This is the single chore around the house I dislike the most.

At first, I just didn't want to do it. I had already made my plans. I could clean the floor on Sunday. then I thought about it. What's really the difference. It has to be done.

I cleaned the floor, I got my yardwork done, I found I even had enough time take some stuff to the recycling center. I worked on the bridge and watched my football games, and my wife was happy.

Any conflict was all in my head. Am I any wiser than the monkeys in the Chinese story?

4 comments:

ms_lili said...

Questions:
1) Why does this chore fall to you and not her? If it is your least favorite chore, why not consider asking her to do it next time and make yourself happy? (Is your happiness less important than hers?)

2) You're a hard-working guy. Why can't you choose to do as you please on the weekend?

--li

Rick said...

She does some things, I do something, at the end it balances out. It's not unlike 3 in the morning and 4 in the afternoon.

ms_lili said...

Or maybe your happiness is like 3 in the morning and hers is like 4 in the morning? Where when you are happy that she is happy? And when she is happy you are happy?

Seems I remember a joke about what's mine is mine and what's yours is mine too.....

I guess I'm perverting the moral of the story. Oh well.

We'll stick with the standard
Happy Wife Happy Life and call it good.

Jennifer said...

That is a valuable lesson.