Citric Acid

If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

The problem with optimism is that, as in the case above, it has no basis in reality. Simply because life has given you lemons does not mean that it has given you sugar, or water, or ice or a pitcher to mix all those things together in, right? Exactly. The expression is assuming that your life, in all respects other than the whole lemon fiasco, is peachy, which it isn’t necessarily.

As an attempt at a humorous response to this inane adage, there is the somewhat edgier, ‘If life gives you lemons, throw them at someone.’ This also arrives at nearly the same problem as the first. It has assumed that you, now the possessor of lemons, have arms, or someone to throw them at, them being the lemons, not the arms which you may or may not have. Think of all the cripples and the quadriplegics-what the hell has life given them?

Lemons aren’t all that bad, anyway. Think about the scurvy victim. He is dying for some vitamin c, and there you are with all your damn lemons-chock-full of that scurvy-fighting goodness-and you’re either throwing them around or making lemonade out of them. You’re sick.

While you’re wailing, “Boo-hoo, I have so many lemons, I don’t even know who to throw them at,” the scurvy-ridden pirate is screaming, “Throw the damn lemons at me, you moron, I need vitamin c really badly!” You’ll probably ignore him because you’ll be bemoaning your lack of sugar and pitcher.

Well, at least ‘Every cloud has a silver lining,’ right? What the hell are you talking about? THE WHOLE F****** CLOUD IS GORGEOUS! If you would quit your bitching, you’d look up for long enough to see a giant ball of hail hit you square in the face. I’d pay to see that.

For more relevant and helpful wisdom, turn to the east. It’s hard to explain why some people would ‘get it’ more than others, but the Chinese seem to have a firmer grasp on this ‘reality.’ Zen monks have developed puzzle-stories, called koans, designed to aid those in meditation. Often these stories make no logical sense but have an underlying truth; sometimes they don’t. Ensuing is an example of a koan thought up by Zen master Confucius.

A monk was walking with his reverent disciple when they happened across a gourd. “What is in the gourd?” inquired the monk.

His disciple bent down to observe the gourd more closely and the monk kicked him in the butt, toppling the disciple. Rising and shaking off his robes, the student fumed, “What meaning has this?”

In silence the monk continued through the forest with the angry student in tow. Eventually they came across the head of a dead cat and the monk inquired, “What is in the head?”

The student began to circle the head to better understand its nature when the monk charged the student and threw him to the ground. The student knew better now than to ask the meaning of this aggression and so, in silence, they continued on.

They came to a small spring with fresh water and the monk asked if they could stop to rest a moment. At this the disciple beat the monk with a stick and stole his robes.

Wherefore is the meaning of this story?

Zen master Confucius say, “It means Daniel Fogel is silly business man. He not know how run good school.”

Wow. I feel bettered by this tale.