Ben on Virtue and Maturity — DeWese

WILL I EVER grow up? I’m beginning to think it ain’t happenin’. It’s doubtful! Sob. I’ll never reach adulthood. Sob. Sob. I thought for certain I would be grown up by age 40. Didn’t happen. Then I thought, “50: That must be my magic number. Everyone I know who is 50 is sure enough grown up.” I missed again. I passed 60 without a shot at maturity. And now, at 66, I am confined mentally and emotionally to my teens. If life was fair, I would also be physically confined to my teens instead of this wretched, arthritic body.

I may be the first human to move into my second childhood without ever having left my first childhood. It will be a smooth segue. There will be no traumatic passage, just a gentle step from “Alice & Jerry” (the popular book series from the 1950s) into Facebook.

I looked up “maturity” to see what it says. None of the definitions were very flattering. Here are a few samples. “1) Having completed natural growth and development: ripe; 2) Having undergone maturation—b: having attained a final or desired state, like a mature wine; c: of, relating to, or being an older adult: elderly.”

The Wisdom of Ol’ Ben

Those definitions were no good. They are unkind. I decided to turn to the printing industry’s most famed and earliest salesperson, Ben Franklin. He will have some answers. He was mature. He grew up. Let’s see what Ben tells us about maturity and about sales.

When I did the research, I found Ben had 13 rules for virtue and maturity. I think I will test myself against his rules. “1) Temperance: Eat not to dullness. Drink not to elevation.” Whoops! Failed that one from my late teens until about age 45. But man, did I ever pay a price for all that great food and libation. I won’t bore you with all the great stories about my exploits. Actually, my memory is a little hazy, like the morning when I couldn’t remember where I parked the car in the French Quarter.

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