In the Catbird Seat/Joe Kirkish

Youth and old age – life’s Alpha and Omega. It begins with a “tabula rasa” (blank slate) on which you write just as much as you like for the better part of a century; then with a nearly full slate you begin sharing with others providing others are willing to listen.

A first grade school teacher wanted to know what her youngsters in their formative years had collected, so she gathered some well known proverbs and gave to each child the first half of a proverb, asking the youngster to come up with the remainder of the proverb. The following are what the kids wrote, their slates already starting to fill up:

Better to be safe than punch a fifth grader.

Strike while the bug is close.

It’s always darkest before daylight savings time.

Never underestimate the power of termites.

You can lead a horse to water but how?

Don’t bite the hand that looks dirty.

No news is impossible.

A miss is as good as a mister.

You can’t teach an old dog new math.

If you lie down with dogs, you’ll stink in the morning.

Love all and trust me.

The pen is mightier than the pigs.

An idle mind is – the best way to relax.

Where there’s smoke there’s pollution.

Happy the bride who gets all the presents.

A penny saved is not much.

Two’s company, three’s the Musketeers.

Children should be seen and not spanked or grounded.

If at first you don’t succeed get new batteries.

When the blind leadeth the blind -get out of the way.

On the other hand, nearer the Omega side of his slate is Will Rogers, who grew up to become one of the greatest observers of American life. While performing onstage with his fancy rope tricks, he would toss his aphorisms out to his delighted audiences. Here are a few:

There are two theories to arguing with a woman. Neither works.

Never slap a man who’s chewing tobacco.

Never kick a cow chip on a hot day.

Never miss a good chance to shut up.

Always drink upstream from the herd.

If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.

The quickest way to double your money is to fold it and put it back in your pocket.

There are three kinds of men: The ones that learn by reading; a few who learn by observation; the rest have to pee on the electric fence and find out for themselves.

Good judgement comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgement.

If you’re riding ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to make sure it’s still there.

Lettin’ the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier’n puttin’ it back.

Eventually in life you will reach a point when you stop lying about your age and start bragging about it.

The older we get, the fewer things seem worth waiting in line for.

Some people try to turn back their life odometers. Not me. I like to know why I look this way. I’ve traveled a long way and some of the roads weren’t paved.

When you are dissatisfied and would like to go back to youth, think of Algebra.

You know you’re getting old when everything either dries up or leaks.

Big mystery: I wonder how I got over the hill without getting to the top.

One of the many things no one tells you about aging is that it is such a nice change from being young.

One must wait until evening to see how splendid the day has been.

Being young is beautiful, but being old is comfortable.

If you really want to annoy your neighbors, tell the truth about them.

Long ago when men cursed and beat the ground with sticks, it was called witchcraft; today it’s called golf.

If you don’t learn to laugh at trouble, you won’t have anything to laugh at when you are old.

Rotten Tomatoes averages: “Oblivion,” B-