Clifford's Maxims

by Denis Clifford ©2004

As I've laughed, learned, labored, and loved through sixty-four years of life, some experiences have cohered, or congealed, into maxims. I offer them, and some maxims of friends, for whatever cheer they may provide.

First, self-explanatory maxims 


Second, with a bit (or more) of explication

First discovered while watching actors eat at a theater party, but true at any celebration.

Moving water is healing.

First discovered during college, when I took a demanding and boring bio-chem class, because it was harder than the other required option, Evolution, and harder meant a better education. Unfortunately, the easy way isn't necessarily the wise way either.

As my ex-wife taught me, decades ago.

What I learned about marriage from my first wife.

Particularly if you want truths about a personŐs life. The crux is discovering the right details, not merely any details. 'Exactitude is not truth,' -Matisse.

I discovered this beyond-rational law decades ago, while fruitlessly searching for an apartment in Manhattan. After weeks of drudging effort, I was walking to the subway to go to work when I fortuitously saw a guy putting up a for-rent sign in an apartment window. I soon rented the apartment. My efforts had sufficiently appeased the apartment-house gods so that they provided me with a good place.

Not for the penny-saved-is-a-penny-earned crowd, this maxim is for those whose share my passions for travel, excellent meals, good wine, great women, entertaining, and fine seats at performances. Frugality is for buying possessions, except books, and perhaps arts works and CDs.

And nobody can determine whatŐs wise for you but you. Quite a range of choices: prescription drugs, supplements, herbs, legal and illegal intoxicants. My Berkeley doctor informs me that quoting this maxim has soothed the anxieties of numerous Berkeleyans who needed a prescription drug but worried over creating impurities in their bodies. [One former hippie friend observed, 'Remember when we took drugs for fun?']

Third, maxims from friends

And finally,

As the French put it, 'Si j'avais seulement su' (If I'd only known) Would I have made no mistakes? Or learned nothing?