Quote for Today: Lynne Truss


There is an old German fable about porcupines who need to huddle together for warmth, but are in danger of hurting each other with their spines. When they find the optimum distance to share each others’ warmth without putting each others’ eyes out, their state of contrived cooperation is called good manners. Well, those old German fabulists certainly knew a thing or two. When you acknowledge other people politely, the signal goes out, “I’m here. You’re there. I’m staying here. You’re staying there. Aren’t we both glad we sorted that out?” When people don’t acknowledge each other politely, the lesson from the porcupine fable is unmistakable. “Freeze or get stabbed, mate. It’s your choice.”  

Lynne Truss, Talk to the Hand: The Utter Bloody Rudeness of the World Today, or Six Good Reasons to Stay Home and Bolt the Door

Image: African Crested Porcupine © Cliff with CCLicense

2 thoughts on “Quote for Today: Lynne Truss

  1. Val Boyko Reply

    I love this story Kat! I also heard Tara Brach sharing it as a metaphor for everyone to get along with each other. She also took away, that when we dod get too close we must expect a few jabs in the relationships too! 💛

    • katmcdaniel Reply

      Yes! I like that corollary very much. We are spiny creatures. Thank you!

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