My father was not an overly expressive man. He didn’t write letters or make phone calls. But once in a while an envelope would come in the mail. It would always be thick and inviting. Inside there would be a few newspaper clippings he thought I might be interested in. Some of those would be from the cartoons. And there might be two or three small slips of blue paper.
The not quite 3×5 note card size slips would have something written on them. It was as close to a letter as he’d get. On one particular occasion, the note was comprised of this quotation:
“Anger is the wind that blows out the light of the mind.”
Variously ascribed to the Farmer’s Almanac or Robert Ingersoll, it’s formed in different ways. Sometimes it’s the “lamp of the mind,” other times, “the light of reason.” But in every case, it seems to carry the same warning: “Get mad and lose sight of reality” or “Be angry and act foolishly.”
I never knew for sure why he sent it. Was he confessing? Was he accusing? Was it simply being passed along because it was good? I’ll never know the motive, but I’ve always known the effect. This little saying has stuck with me for somewhere between 40 and 45 years. It’s been a helpful reminder for me and it’s been good advice for others.
I don’t know that this adage has prevented any murders…but I’m sure it’s been responsible for stopping more than one argument.