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Channeling Ben Franklin. September 2, 2011

Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
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Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.

                —Benjamin Franklin

It’s me, Richard Saunders of Poor Richard’s Almanac fame, here today to remind everyone who’s still out of power thanks to Hurricane Irene—and all the rest of us, too—that there’s at least one bonus to having the power go out: It links us to our heritage. 

For all of human history until the last hundred-odd years, there was no such thing as “power.” People lived and worked by lamplight, candlelight, firelight, and, eventually, gaslight. None of these was especially bright, so mostly, people lived by sunlight. Thus Ben Franklin’s wise maxim: Early to bed, so you didn’t waste expensive candles by staying up after dark. Early to rise, so you took advantage of every second of (free) natural light. Obviously, this would save money, making you wealthy (or at least wealthier) and wise.

I don’t know about the healthy part, but I suspect old Ben was commenting on the tendency of his fellowmen then, as now, to seek out the pleasures of the tavern after nightfall, which would certainly have an impact on both health and wealth, not to mention wisdom. Good point, Ben!

At any rate, should you find yourself without power for a prolonged period, rather than bemoaning the absence of TV, internet access, and the like, you might want to think back… way back… and try channeling your ancestors. See how your day goes without electricity. See how self-sufficient you can be. Try reading a book while the power’s out. And at night? Think about eating before darkness descends, and once it does, going to bed, so when dawn breaks, you’ll be refreshed and ready to greet the day.

Maybe you’ll find that you like old Ben’s schedule. And, as a bonus, bear in mind that doctors now claim that eating your last meal early in the evening helps control your weight!


                                  Richard Saunders



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