The image of the boy in a tree, sawing determinedly away at the branch he is sitting on, while he’s actually sitting on the wrong side of it–on the part of the branch that’s going to fall to the ground with him on it when he cuts all the way through–is one that’s always amused me, because like the old sayings “cut off your nose to spite your face,” and “when you find yourself in a hole, stop digging,” there are so many ways to make such self-destructive measures come true in real life, and we all know so many people who can’t resist doing so: Way to mess up your job! Screw up your family! Alienate your friends! Lose your money! Destroy your future! Ruin your life! And on, and on–consciously–in the face of, ignoring, and rejecting, all life-affirming good sense and good advice.
Just. Keep. Digging.
So imagine my surprise when I came across (on the way to looking up other stuff) a monument to this activity, in the Russian town of Yakutsk.
Like many of her ethnicity, my Polish grandmother-in-law didn’t have much time for the Russians, whom she never referred to as anything other than Rosyjskie diabły (Russian devils), usually just before, or after, spitting on the floor.
But it seems to me those clever Cossacks (for that is what they are) know a thing or two about human nature.
Humans have a knack for choosing precisely the things that are worst for them–J.K. Rowling