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A phrase that advises against wishing for impossible or absurd things to happen. The full phrase is “If ifs and ands were pots and pans, there’d be no work for tinkers’ hands.” A: “If only my parents would give me a car, life would be so much easier.” B: “Yeah, well, if ifs and ands were pots and pans, right?”

A still longer version: If wishes were horses, then beggars could ride / If turnips were watches, I’d wear one by my side / If ifs and ands were pots and pans / There would be no work for tinkers. Dandy Don Meredith often recited a similar a somewhat similar phrase about wishful thinking that involved candied nuts

Well, life doesn’t only consist of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Life has ups and downs and everyone tries to survive in his own clock-shell surrounded by a dangerous  ocean. Life is stuffed with plenty of excuses, and we are sometimes unable to apologize and say a meaningful “sorry” at the right moment.

Excuses don’t know the question of age. I still have two significant examples to share:

The church was crowded. confirmation. A woman came too late. Traffic jams. In need of help, the woman looked to the left and then to the right. It looked like a young man liked to help her. He murmured, “Show up a bit, the LOLA likes to sit down”. The situation looked problem-free at that moment. But after taking a deep breath, the LOLA realized the young man’s comment. She was just 38 years “young”! With uneasiness she looked at the youngster, who started smiling at her. How old could he be? 14 or 15? A very big difference already to her age. Then suddenly, the young man realized his inappropriate remark and stuttered, “Sorry Madam, please excuse me! If I would have only known…!”

Choked with emotions, I also listened to the story of my former editor colleague in Germany several years ago. Her mother had expelled her from life. Only while laying on her deathbed, her mother did offer a plea in extenuation because of her lifelong fault. 

Excuses because one is embarrassed or with a simple alibi can be  found at every corner. Did you, my dear reader, count already, how many times you used the term “IF”?

Just to mention this example, which I noticed several times from my students. ” If I could pass my German language exam, my partner would be very proud of me!” Sure, not only he, but also me, as your German language professor in Davao City. 

“If there would be a God, there wouldn’t be so much misery, poverty, and war on earth!”

Well, if that’s the way it’s got to be…? If there is no other way? 

Maybe, you still remember Elton John’s song from 1976: “Sorry (in the right moments!) seems to be the hardest word…” That depends!


Email: [email protected] or follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin or visit my www.germanexpatinthephilippines.blogspot.com or www.klausdoringsclassicalmusic.blogspot.com .


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