Stepping stones

In an imperfect world, mistakes have their uses. Consider the case of ‘Mr C’. He decided to name his new venture after his late mother, Anuradha. He christened it, ‘Anu’s bakery’. As luck would have it, the sign painter left out the apostrophe. It evoked great  merriment and glee among passers-by but many were kind enough to bring the omission to C’s notice.

Strangely however, C showed no inclination to mend matters. At last, pressed for an answer, he confessed, “Many come in to point out the error and then stay on to buy something…” The moral of this story? When business booms, leave a little gaffe behind!
Mistakes are often the stuff of which happy memories are made. Think of alumni meets or reunions. What are most eagerly talked about are not extraordinary achievements, but youthful pranks and misadventures. It could be simple fun of the kind featured in an amusing advertisement. A latecomer who makes a pretence of sneaking out by walking backwards is ordered back into class by an unsuspecting teacher. Secret feasts, midnight outings and odd pronouncements we never meant to make but did, provide a great deal of hilarity and togetherness.

No doubt success is valued and hard to attain, but it is seldom a source of humour. Failure, on the other hand, is common enough and provides a spring-board for laughter. Great invention inspire awe, useless ones attract the ‘Ignobel Prize’. Moving speeches are remembered and quoted, but it is the foot-in-the-mouth remarks that stay longer in the mind. Who can, for instance, forget or stop smiling at this statement made by an erstwhile president of the US? “If Lincoln were alive,” he declared, “he would be rolling in his grave.”
Mistakes have often led to astounding discoveries. Penicillin, X-rays, rubber, photography, electric current and the telescope are all products of error. Perhaps the only genuine error we can make is not to learn anything from the ones we make.
Where there is life, there are mistakes. However, this is true of hope as well. What appear to be stumbling blocks may well be stepping-stones in disguise!

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