WISE OLD BEN – ON HIS 309th BIRTHDAY

Ben Franklin


By Harvey Tobkes

My personal interview and conversation with Benjamin Franklin, today he is 309-years-old:

Q: Happy birthday Mr. Franklin! May I start, sir, by asking… has your outlook on life changed much since your younger days?
A: When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.

Q: You have been known as a wise and frugal man, so can you give our younger readers some advice about the value of money?
A: If you would know the value of money, try to borrow some.

Q: I hear you have many friends that come from great distances to visit you and learn from your sage advice.
A Yes! but I will say this about them all, “Guests, like fish begin to smell after three days.”

Q: Are there any absolutes or certainties in life?
A: Certainties? In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.

Q: Do you have many close friends?
A: There are 3 faithful friends in a lifetime that a man may have. An old wife, an old dog and ready money.

Q. Upon reflection, do you like the wise and witty person you have become?
A: Yes! But remember he that falls in love with himself will have no rivals.

Q: What would you say is one of life’s great tragedies?
A: Life’s great tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late.

Q:. We know you have done many good deeds and favors for your friends; how have you been rewarded?
A: Most people return small favors, acknowledge medium ones and repay greater ones with ingratitude.

Q: And now, sir, my closing question, which many of our readers look forward to: Is it true that your Jewish mother often warned….”Benny, stop playing around already with the ‘fershtunkener’ kite; there’s lightning; you’ll kill yourself?”

He was born January 17th, 1706, so today we celebrate the 309th birthday of Ben Franklin. He is the second most quoted man in the English language after Shakespeare. His innovations included the concepts of a police force, fire fighting brigades, and insurance. He invented bifocals and created daylight savings time He discovered electricity in lightning and made many contributions to medicine and meteorology. Incredibly, he also became famous for being a statesman, a printer, a philosopher, a musician, and an economist. Today, we honor Ben Franklin as one of our Founding Fathers and as one of America’s greatest citizens. Although he was born in Boston, the city of Philadelphia is remembered as the home of Ben Franklin. In Philadelphia, you can find both Ben’s grave site and the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial. You’ll also find The Franklin Institute Science Museum.


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