A master – at work and in life

This article is about Maurice Franklin, a wood turner who is now in his 90s, having only left his lathe to fight in world war II.

From the article:

ďAre you happy?Ē I queried, provocative in my eagerness to seize this opportunity of learning something about being a nonagenarian. ďIíll tell you why I am happy.Ē said Maurice, with a grin of unqualified delight and raising one hand to count off his blessings, ďIíve got a wonderful family and wonderful children. Iíve been successful and Iíve got an appetite for life, and Iíve eaten every day and slept every night.Ē Maurice was on a roll now. ďI was going to write a book once,Ē he continued, ďbut thereís no time in this life. By the time you know how to live, itís over. This life is like a dress rehearsal, you just make it up as you go along. One life is not enough, everyone should live twice.Ē

Read the whole thing – it’s excellent!

It reminded me of one of my favorite books, Harpo Speaks, the autobiography of Harpo Marx, another virtuoso. Here’s a passage from that book:

I canít remember ever having a bad meal. Iíve eaten […] in the finest restaurants in Paris, but the absolutely most delicious food I ever ate was prepared by the most inspired chef I ever knew Ė my father. My father had to be inspired, because he had so little to work with.

I canít remember ever having a poor night’s sleep. Iíve slept in the mansions of the Vanderbilts and Otto H. Kahn and in the Gloverville jail. Iíve slept on pool tables, dressing-room tables, piano tops, bathhouse benches, in rag baskets and harp cases. I have known the supreme luxury of snoozing in the July sun, on the lawn, while the string of a flying kite tickled the bottom of my feet.

I canít remember ever seeing a bad show. If Iím trapped in a theatre, and a show starts disappointingly, I have a handy way to avoid seeing it. I fall asleep.

This is the attitude we must cultivate in life, if we want to be happy.

2 thoughts on “A master – at work and in life”

  1. Attitude is everything, the same circumstances could trigger a negative response in a different individual, it’s all in how we deal with what comes at us that determines our happiness (and therefore our success.)
    I find that people concerned with how to make their surroundings better are best served with working on their internal environment first and foremost.
    Take the wood turner for example, if he concentrated on how he felt trapped by doing the same job day in and day out for decades instead of how great it is to have work to do, he might have been miserable. He made a choice and enjoys a great life because of it (and I imagine his whole family benefits from that decision also.)
    Thanks for posting, Alexander, you’ve helped have a better day.

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