I think all of us know at least part of the Robert Burns poem:
O would some power the small gift give us
To see ourselves as others see us!
It would from many a blunder free us and foolishes wishes.
What airs in dress and grace would leave us, and even devotion.
One of the suggestions for him writing the poem is that he stood behind a lady of some standing in church and noticed a louse crawling round her hat.
Of course, as I said yesterday, I had an hour of reading Ronald Blythe while waiting for an appointment to mend my hearing aid and I thought how appropriate this little poem was to what I was reading.
He says - at what point does carefulness with money become stinginess? Do we use sticky labels on used envelopes because we really can't afford new envelopes - or has it become a bit of a fetish? As he says - he knew someone who had an aunt who said, 'never marry a man who unties the string on parcels.'
When you think about it, we never ever actually see ourselves do we? All we ever get is a mirror image - or maybe a photograph (when usually we are posing to some extent). And do we ever actually sit down and analyse our characters or do we go blithely through life being 'ourselves'? And does it really matter? I am not sure that we have the ability to change these things anyway - to a large extent they are fashioned during our upbringing.
Oh golly - it is a good job I don't sit every day in a hospital waiting room for an hour - too much introspection like this would drive me mad.
Oh, and incidentally, yes I did get my hearing aid mended and I am hearing you loud and clear!