Monday, June 17, 2024

Patti’s Aphorisms

Annamaria on Monday

First of all, why "Patti's?" 

Many of you know that my legal name is Patricia King.  My parents named me Patricia because I I was born on St. Patrick's Day.  They were following one of the two common Italian naming customs by calling me after the saint's days when I arrived.  (People named Pasquale or Pasqualina, for instance, were often born on or very close to Easter.)

The name "King" came to me with my first marriage.  I kept it after the divorce because I had a young daughter who whose last name was King. I thought she was going through enough for a three year-old, and I didn't want her to have a different name from her mother.

These days most people call me Pat. Just the other day, for instance, the clerk at the pharmacy asked me my name so he could find my prescription.  I said,"Patricia King."  He proceeded to address me, as most of my friends do these days, as "Pat."  This is not my favorite.  

To me, Pat is a flat word with a flat meaning.  But I answer to it. 'Twas not always so. Starting when I was an infant, I was known to my family and early in my life, to my friends as Patti. (I prefer the Italian spelling, with an 'I' rather than an eye rather than a 'Y.')  My nieces and nephews, my lifelong friends and their children, all of those who knew the young me, still call me Patti or Aunt Patti.  But currently, everyone else says "Pat." Though I am still little, I guess I am not small enough or, more likely, not young enough to be walking around with a diminutive name.

Okay, the title of this blog is out of the way.  Now to its other word, Aphorisms.  Specifically, ones I have coined.  Never fear.  I am not clever enough to have thought up very many.  But for this blog, I have also coined a new one.

Here are two I have had been tossing around for a while:

No adventure worthy of the name 
is fun while you're going through it.
This one just fell out of my mouth one day, when my daughter complained during a week in the Caribbean. She was around nine years old and justly upset. we had gotten lost looking for what was supposed to be a beautiful, sequestered  beach. We wound up at the island dump. Since then, I have trotted my saying out a number of times. As far as I can see, the stories people tell when they come home from a trip are the ones about what went wrong--the loss luggage, the wrong turn, ... It seems  a way of celebrating one’s survival. And of course, we all know that every good story has to have trouble in it.

This next saying is a bit long to be an aphorism. I guess I should call it a truism.

People in their 20s and 30s want stuff.
 People in their 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s want experiences.
 People in their 80s and 90s want help.

Among he illustrations peppered into this post are two of my favorites, coined by witty and wise people.  They are sayings I  quote, by people  cleverer than I.  Here is my new aphorism for today:


Artificial Intelligence is to real intelligence as
artificial flowers are to real flowers.

Will this statement stand the test of time?  I doubt it.  For one thing, I don't think is clever enough or nicely stated enough.  It feels true to me, but does it sum up, as I hope the others do, a complex concept in a few words?

Besides, AI bots are scraping the entire internet, including Murder is Everywhere, with their insatiable appetite for grist for AI mill.  When the AI bots find my thirteen words characterizing AI as dull and disappointing, if AI really achieves its full potential of independent thinking, it will see my statement as an insult and delete my words.  Maybe this whole post will disappear.

If you are here and you see that happening, it will be time to become afraid of AI.     


  1. 'No adventure worthy of the name
    is fun while your are going through it' I love this, and I'm going to remember it next time I'm struggling through an 'adventure'! I'd like to call you 'Patti' instead of 'Pat' from now on, if I may?

    1. Certainly! It's actually comforting to think the way you intend to, dear Ovidia. After I said that to my daughter, through all our travels, when something went wrong, she would ask, "Are we having an adventure, Mom?" And we would laugh. "Another story we can tell." I would respond.

  2. I love the one about the ages! Fortunately, I still want experiences.

    1. Than you. When it comes to experiences, I still want them, too, Michael. Even though I am ahead of you and already in the wanting-help cohort. I haven't seen the aurora borealis, for instance. I suppose wanting help and wanting experiences are not mutually exclusive.

  3. I like your aphorisms and truisms, Patti! But I just visited my 89-year-old uncle in New York, and I know he's still having a good time collecting experiences: going to art museums and galleries, concerts, and favorite restaurants. He just can't go as far and as fast. So I'd say he needs some help (unfortunately), but he's certainly not finished with experiences. As Michael says, and you agree in your comment, they aren't mutually exclusive.

  4. You'll always be AmAti, to me... Your first aphorism reminds me of someone's else's aphorism (source long forgotten): An adventure is a life-threatening experience that you survived. Alas, it's the "wanting experiences" that usually leads to having 'adventures.'

  5. Yes, EvKa. Adventurous is not the same as reckless. I call myself adventurous, but I have to say that the ones that go awry do make better stories.