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床屋談義

床屋談義


My wife used to cut our three daughters’ hair when they were little kids. As she did the job, she told them various things, from a personal message to her view of life—a discourse on how to live (kind of barbershop talk 床屋談義).

There is one talk somehow remaining unforgettably on my mind. She once asked one of them: “Who are to blame foremost?—Those who are (A) smart and not mean, (B) clever and mean, (C) not smart and mean, (D) not smart and not mean.” The child answered promptly: “(C), i.e., ‘not smart and mean’!” Then the mother replied, “Yeah, that’s one possible answer. But for me, (B), namely ‘clever and mean,’ come foremost.” Her kid said, “Why is that? (B) are ‘clever,’ at least!” Her mother responded, “Yes, that’s the point. You see, ‘both clever and mean’ entails they COULD cause people troubles FAR AND WIDE, right?, as just could swindlers!” and continued, “In contrast, (D) would hurt nobody, at least….” “Oh, you’re right, Mom!! You are sure type (A) ‘smart and not mean’!!” “Oh, thanks, dear. Well, I’m not sure I’m (A) or (D). But I do hope you are a ‘not mean’ person (A) or (D)—hopefully (A), but (D) would be quite OK. I wish you to be a ‘not mean’ or, in fact, a ‘kind’ person!” “Right on, Mom!” said she, nodding her head. I was also nodding my head, hearing their talk.

Actually, she asked this question to all the kids in turn, namely three times in a row, since she was in charge of all of their haircuts. Accordingly, I heard similar exchanges three times—that as well probably has reinforced my memory of the anecdote. 🤗😊😍

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