Lately I’ve been trying to simplify and automate a lot of tasks, and I keep thinking of this quote:
“I’m trying to develop a lifestyle that doesn’t require my presence.”
Yes! If everything could keep humming along while I took a week-long nap …
This quote, or a version of it, is attributed all over the Intertubes to “Doonesbury” cartoonist Garry Trudeau. But we might have another great thinker to thank: Kinky Friedman.
The farthest back I could track Trudeau’s quote was two articles from October 1990 — the 20th anniversary of “Doonesbury” — saying he’d used the phrase in the 1980s: ” ‘I’ve been trying to develop a lifestyle that doesn’t require my presence,’ he’d say.”
In 1986, when Friedman sidelined his music for a bit to write mystery novels, the phrase pops up in a couple news stories, e.g. “I’ve always talked about finding a life style that didn’t require my presence and I think that writing novels is it.”
I’m not aiming to call either one a plagiarist; hell, maybe they both got it from Mark Twain for all I know. Just thought I’d give Kinky a shot at cropping up in the Google results, too.
Socrates got into this blog post because he, presumably, originated another sentiment I love:
ὁ δὲ ἀνεξέταστον βίος οὐ βιωτὸς ἀνθρώπῳ.
Or as it’s more often put: “The unexamined life is not worth living.”