Sunday, February 12, 2012

That Abe Lincoln was one smart cookie

Today is Abraham Lincoln’s birthday.

If he were still alive, he would be 203.

Happy birthday, Abe!

He said something once that I’m thinking of right now.

Not “Fourscore and seven years ago.” Not “With malice toward none, with charity for all.” Not “government of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

I’m not thinking of any of those.

No, I’m thinking of something much more profound. During one of his speeches on the campaign trail he asked, “If you call a tail a leg, how many legs does a dog have?”

Someone in the crowd called out, “Five.”

“Wrong,” said Lincoln. “It would have four legs. Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.”

It would be good if certain politicians of our own day, both on the right and on the left, would keep that in mind.

12 comments:

Carolina said...

It was a trick question ;-)

I don't like trick questions. They make the people who ask the question seem smart. But it doesn't mean that they are smart. Although, you could argue that it is smart to ask questions that make you seem smart.

Hmm. I'll have to think about this a little longer.

Thank you for giving me food for thought ;-)

Putz said...

i do think abe was one smart cookie, and the question was clever and not tricky>>he made a point to the conversation

Carolina said...

I agree with you, Putz, that me made a point. And he probably wasn't a dumb guy. Since he made it to president of your country :-)

Carolina said...

I meant to say 'he' made a point.

Snowbrush said...

Hi, I'm here with my usual wise-crack.

"He said something once that I’m thinking of right now."

If a tree falls in the forest, and no one hears it, did it make a sound?

If Abraham Lincoln is remembered for saying something that Bob isn't think of, did he really say it?

I have another question that even might make a little sense. What--if anything--might a person's answer to Lincoln's question tell us about that person?

Katherine said...

Did you know that Abe Lincoln may have invented the wink-smiley emoticon?

http://www.labnol.org/internet/did-abraham-lincoln-invent-emoticon/6682/

Anonymous said...

Snowbrush: Your wise-crack comment is more of a chip-on-the-shoulder utterance (the impetus I do not care to understand).

Lincoln's question was directed at an audience and for the national record; not towards an individual. He used *rhetoric* to heighten a nation's (not an individual's) understanding of the depths of political depravity and abuse of public trust that we still experience today. God bless Abraham Lincoln.

Here's another rhetorical question:
If snow falls, brushing against the trees in the woods, but no one sees or hears it, does it exist?

Katherine said...

Ouch! I wonder if 'anon' will chastise me for my 'disrespectful' comment too. Pity s/he could not own her/his opinion, tho.

Elizabeth said...

I know absolutely nothing about Abe Lincoln, Bob, but your quote set me in mind of that modern equivalent that seems to have been grabbed by every pulpit on both sides of the Atlantic, that living in a garage doesn't make you a car! Like all of these illustrations it has a place, but also limitations. I must tell you about the 'alternative' starfish, sometime... x

rhymeswithplague said...

Carolina (A), it was not a trick question. Also, it may seem smart to ask questions that make you seem smart, but it only seems that way. It really isn't. Smart, I mean.

Putz, but what was his point?

Carolina (B), I'll have you know we have had several dumb guys make it to president of our country.

Snowbrush, are you high on some substance when you make your usual wisecrack or are you not high on some substance when you make your usual wisecrack? Inquiring minds want to know, not that it would alter our friendship in any way. I myself am high all the time without the aid of some substance, except those times when I am not. High, I mean. Or not high. Whatever.

Katherine, I do believe Abe's claim to fame regarding the wink-smiley emoticon is merely an instance of an extraneous space having been inserted into that sentence, making it only seem to be an emoticon when it clearly was not. Do I make myself clear?

Anonymous, the snow most definitely does exist.

Elizabeth, it is also important to remember that a kitten born in an oven is not a chocolate-chip cookie.

Elizabeth said...

Precisely the point I was making! :-D X

Snowbrush said...

"Snowbrush, are you high on some substance when you make your usual wisecrack"

It makes no difference. I've always been that way.

"I myself am high all the time without the aid of some substance."

Wow! You must save a ton of money. Then again, if you tithe, probably not.