Morning Sun
  • TRUE STORIES: What kind of fool am I?

  • The first of April, according to Mark Twain, is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year.

    From one angle, Twain’s statement can be seen as derogatory; from another, complimentary.

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  • The first of April, according to Mark Twain, is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year.
    From one angle, Twain’s statement can be seen as derogatory; from another, complimentary.
    The derogatory is strengthened by looking at the origin of the word fool. Its source, the Latin word follis, meant “a bag or sack, a large inflated ball, a pair of bellows.” Users saw a resemblance between the bellows or the inflated ball and a person who was what we would call “a windbag” or “an airhead.” Other words that come to mind are jerk, dummy, nerd, numskull, chump, bonehead, nitwit, etc.
    The complimentary nature of the term fool can be seen in a quote from William Shakespeare: “A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.” In his plays, excessive pride and arrogance (hubris), usually lead to a character’s downfall.
    The wise fool is a recurring character type in the works of Shakespeare. They are usually clever peasants or commoners who use their wits to outdo people of higher social standing. Words like intelligent, clever, funny, droll, astute, crafty, sly, and shrewd would describe them. “Better a witty fool than a foolish wit.”
    This being April Fool’s Day, I’ve gathered some pithy quotes about fools for your perusal. I’ve decided, rather than share my reflections on them, to let you do that yourself. Anyway, as the old saying goes, one man’s fancy is another’s folly.
    • It may be true that you can’t fool all the people all the time, but you can fool enough of them to rule a large country. — Will Durant
    • However big the fool, there is always a bigger fool to admire him. — Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux
    • But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise — 1 Corinthians 1:27
    • Sometimes one likes foolish people for their folly better than wise people for their wisdom. — Elizabeth Gaskell
    • It is better to be a fool than to be dead. — Robert Louis Stevenson
    • Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain … and most fools do. — Benjamin Franklin
    • A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer. — Bruce Lee
    • Any fool can make a rule; and any fool will mind it. — Henry David Thoreau
    • A fool and his money are soon elected. — Will Rogers
    • A mother takes twenty years to make a man of her boy, and another woman makes a fool of him in twenty minutes. — Robert Frost
    • If one does not understand a person, one tends to regard him as a fool. — Carl Jung
    Page 2 of 2 - • Before a man speaks it is always safe to assume that he is a fool. After he speaks, it is seldom necessary to assume it. — H. L. Mencken
    • Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself. — Charlie Chaplin
    • The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool. — Richard P. Feynman
    • Every man is a damn fool for at least five minutes every day; wisdom consists in not exceeding the limit. — Elbert Hubbard
    • A fool can throw a stone in a pond that 100 wise men can not get out. — Saul Bellow
    • A fool and her money are soon courted. — Helen Rowland
    • There was a time when a fool and his money were soon parted, but now it happens to everybody. — Adlai E. Stevenson
    • The Constitution gives every American the inalienable right to make a damn fool of himself. — John Ciardi
    •The fellow that agrees with everything you say is either a fool or he is getting ready to skin you. — Kin Hubbard
    • If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There’s no point in being a damn fool about it. — W. C. Fields
    In closing, don’t forget to be on your guard today for pranksters, lest you find yourself on a fool’s errand — like maybe hunting for snipe.
    Or being sent to Walmart to buy some shoreline, a left-handed screwdriver, a quart of headlight fluid, a box of nail holes, and a shoelace repair kit.
    J.T. Knoll is a writer, speaker and prevention and wellness coordinator at Pittsburg State University. He also operates Knoll Training, Consulting & Counseling Services in Pittsburg. J.T. Knoll can be reached at 231-0499 or jtknoll@swbell.net

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