Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Wick Fisher
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Good intentions

Wick's World

 

December 13, 2018



“Life is short and if you’re looking for extension, you had best do well. ‘Cause there’s good deeds then there’s good intentions. They are as far apart as heaven and hell.” Source: Ben Harper.

To begin today’s column, I was looking for a different quote about the best of well laid intentions by man are soon …? What is the rest of the quote? I couldn’t even find the one I was looking for in the know-it-all modern day Bible known as Wikipedia. If God is truly omniscient, then God himself … or herself, whatever the case may be, knows everything on the internet and more. However, I felt God had more important things to do during the season of many religious holidays, so I didn’t bother to ask.

George W. Bush, I understand how you must have felt that day when you quoted about “Fool me once …” Although it went down a winding path, your intention was right and eventually you got the point across. We all knew what you meant.

Unfortunately, this was at a time in your presidency when the media was eager to pounce on what came to be known as “Bushisms”. I can empathize with you, George, because I have a boat-full of worthy “Wickisms” that could match your many discombobulation of the English language. Many of mine are deliberate simply to garner laughter. Some are not. They are more likely to garner a quizzical look and an inward thought such as, “What in the heck was that about?” If my intention is clear, then the quizzical looks should be inconsequential.

George, I think that’s what happened in your episode when your intent failed to match the quote. The actual quote you intended to impart comes from the writer Stephen King. He said, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times, shame on both of us.” I like your quote much better.

“There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again.”

Although you bludgeoned the quote to death, all of America knew your intent. This was a rather reoccurring issue during your presidency, but the people understood the intent of what you were trying to say. Many even liked the fact that you talked the language of the people. It was rare that you were misunderstood.

This is quite different from the president we have today. Although many try to compare Trump’s rarely understood speech to George W.’s, I contend that Trump always speaks to himself and knows and understands his intention. Some may see this as a rare gift. It is a gift that allows one to believe that you, and only you, are right all of the time. If you marry that kind of unique thinking with intent, you have a huge advantage of being able to say whatever you want to say … and get away with it. The problem many of us have, is we never really know what Trump’s intentions are. That can be a dangerous thing.

For that reason, I find fault in Ben Harper’s quote about good deeds and good intentions: “They are about as far apart as heaven and hell.”

Intent always comes before action, whether good or bad. Actions are the result of intentions that are thought manifested into action. Often it is not what you say but how you say your intention that spawns the reaction. Has anyone out there ever said this to your spouse?

“Heck, you look good fat.”

When it came out of my uncle’s mouth, it was intended to be complimentary. That was certainly not the result.

Recently I wrote a column about “I’ll be Home for Christmas”. It was intended to reflect the joy my wife and I shared about having our entire family, spouses included, back home to Minnesota for the holidays. Good intentions were running rampant. Reality followed a different path. I’m sad to say, “It’s not gonna happen, folks.”

Everyone in the family agrees that this is the absolute proper path that must be taken because of the seriousness of the issue. You may wonder why, but for personal reasons, I would like to keep this private. With fingers crossed, lots of prayers and good intentions, the outcome should be a blessing. My family is very resilient, so we fully intend to join with all in a happy holiday season.

 

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