“If You Don’t Have Something Nice to Say. . .”

Too much technology in my life. I used to go to Al’s Breakfast Nook and now I go on Facebook. Thanks to social media, my handwriting has become illegible. It took me half an hour to decipher a note I left on the kitchen counter that said, “Why am I here? What’s the purpose of it all? Who needs me?”

But Thanksgiving is on the way so let’s talk about something more cheerful such as profound gratitude. I’m from Minnesota and grew up in a culture of cheerfulness. Now I’m old and have much to complain about and am grateful for memory loss. My mother did not encourage complaint — “Other people have it worse than you,” she said, referring to children in China. She also said, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Which eliminated journalism as a career and politics, music criticism and any form of fiction except children’s books.

—From a Garrison Keillor post, “Lighten up, people, it’s Thanksgiving for God’s sake.”


  1. Barnard Collier says

    Dear Jack,

    I read this piece and the way it started without quotes it seemed to me as if it was your voice and I thought:

    “When did Jack suddenly turn old?” “What’s this memory crap? He remembers stuff elephants forget.”

    Then I thought you were repudiating journalism and adult writing, and I wondered, “Is Jack getting enough cachaca in his caipirinihas?

    So glad finally to see it was Garrison Keillor instead.

Speak Your Mind