The heart and soul of the party

Editorial note: If you have not yet read our Mission Statement above, please do so in order that you can put our blogs in context. 

27 February 2018




Wirklich, er war unentbehrlich!

Überall, wo was geschah

Zu dem Wohle der Gemeinde,

Er war tätig, er war da.


Schützenfest, Kasinobālle,

Pferderennen, Preisgericht,

Liedertafel, Spritzenprobe,

Ohne ihn da ging est nicht.


Ohne ihn war nichts zu machen,

Keine Stunde hat er frei.

Gestern, als sie ihn begruben,

War er richtig auch dabei.


Wilhelm Busch (1832-1908), German satirist




Really, he was part of the furniture!

Wherever anything happened

That cheered people up,

He was the mover and shaker, he was always around.


At shooting parties, at dances in the Casino,

At the horse races, when judging a competition,

At the glee club, at the fire drill,

Without him nothing happened.


Without him nothing could be done.

He hadn’t a moment free.

Yesterday, when they buried him,

There he was again, present and correct!



An old friend of ours recently told a very similar tale about a colleague of his – let us call him JS – at a London office at which our friend worked. JS was the guy described in the poem. Nothing moved at Bullingdon Brothers –the name we shall give to this business – without the nod from JS. At the office from early morning to late in the evening and afterwards at bars and hostelries in the City, JS would be there. His name was on everyone’s lips. “Where’s JS,” they cried. “We’ve got to find him. We need him urgently.” Popular isn’t the word. He could solve any problem, deal with any dilemma, suggest whatever remedy the situation required. He never attacked anyone, he never put anyone down, he never bigged himself up. And he had a never-ending fund of humorous anecdotes, mainly involving the office, that had them rolling in the aisles. If you wanted cheering up, JS was the man to go to. In fact, it was often said that if JS wasn’t there, the business would go under. He was the glue that kept it together. And then one day – as sometimes happens to people – he died. Needless to say, the funeral was a fun thing. Then a strange thing happened. After the funeral, according to our friend, JS was never mentioned again. Not in the board-room, not in the canteen, not in the typing pool, not in the corridors and not in the chill-out room. And the business did not go under. In fact, Bullingdon Brothers went on to scale new heights.

In society you exist only so far as you continue to be there, wherever it is. Once you have left, no trace of you remains, not even a memory, your place now occupied by another.

ἐπάμεροι. τί δέ τις; τί δ᾽ οὔ τις; σκιᾶς ὄναρ

Here today, gone tomorrow! What is anyone?
 What is he not? Man is but a dream of a shadow

View of the Greek poet Pindar (518-438 BC) as expressed in his Pythian Odes  (Book 8, line 135):



 You might perhaps care to view some of our earlier posts.  For instance:

  1. Why? or How? That is the question (3 Jan 2012)
  2. Partitocracy v. Democracy (20 July 2012)
  3. The shoddiest possible goods at the highest possible prices (2 Feb 2012)
  4. Capitalism in practice (4 July 2012)
  5. Ladder  (21 June 2012)
  6. A tale of two cities (1) (6 June 2012)
  7. A tale of two cities (2) (7 June 2012)
  8. Where’s the beef? Ontology and tinned meat (31 Jan 2012)

Every so often we shall change this sample of previously published posts.




This entry was posted in Austria, Economics, Germany, Literature, Philosophy, UK, USA and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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