How to Console a F**k-Up

Erasmus, Colloquia Familiaria:

“Mauritius: You have returned to us fatter than usual. You have come back a bit longer.

Cyprianus: Yet I would have loved to come back more intelligent or more learned.

M: You left unbearded and have returned with a little growth. You contracted a bit of age while you were gone. What’s up with this paleness? What about this leanness? What of your goat-like forehead?

C: Just as fortune, so too goes one’s body…

M: Was your fortune bad?

C: It was never indeed favorable otherwise, but it never blew more hatefully than now.

M: I grieve for your misfortune – your calamity distresses me. But what evil was there?

C: I made a shipwreck of all my money.

M: In the sea?

C: Nope – on the shore, before I ever set sail.

M: Where the hell was that?

C: On the shore of Britain.

M: Well, it’s good that you swam back here alive. Better to lose your money than your life. The payment of money is lighter than the expense of one’s reputation.

C: Yet with life and reputation intact, all my money is lost.

M: Life can never be recovered, reputation can but with difficulty, yet it’s easy enough to repair the loss of money somehow. How did this disaster happen?

C: I don’t know – it must just be my fate. Thus it seemed best to the gods. Thus it pleased my evil genius.

M: You see then that learning and virtue are the safest riches, since they can never be taken away and they never burden their possessor.

C: That’s a pretty piece of philosophy you’re spouting, but I’m still pissed.”


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