I am so shocked, I can hardly believe what I now know. It started when I was in high school. In those days, I read Seventeen Magazine, faithfully. It was my source for all things pertaining to teen life, body awareness, and boys.
Every month the best part, which I savored, was an article, or a quiz, on love, and I was most eager to learn whatever they could teach me. One month I found IT. IT being the answer to my most burning question about love; and my life was changed.
IT became my enduring motto. I clipped IT out, and carried IT in my wallet until long after I was married and had kids. I do not recall when I weeded IT out, and threw IT away. Probably happened during one of those moments when I needed more room for grocery store coupons, or someone’s permission slip for a field trip, because heaven knows, I never carried money, there.
I always attributed IT to that hallowed magazine; their worldly-wise editors providing this awkward, country girl the answer to life’s most basic question. How do I find love?
Today, all these years down the road, I have just learned Seventeen Magazine “borrowed” those words to live by. As I think about it, the word plagiarism comes to mind, because credit for the source of my pithy proverb was never given. But, I don’t think anyone cared then, nor now.
And who, of all sage advisors to the teenage lovelorn proffered the shiny golden key so desperately needed? Ready? None other than Benjamin Franklin. That’s right. Old Ben Franklin had, unbeknownst to me, been put in charge of my real life bildungsroman.
It’s not that I don’t like Mr Franklin. His face is, after all, on the hundred dollar bill. And who hasn’t seen a drawing of the old gentleman holding the string to a kite that has a key attached? It’s just that I never imagined he would be the one who knew how to get from here to there across that crazy minefield of love.
I realize it doesn’t matter. Benjamin Franklin said it, Seventeen Magazine took credit, and I believed it. So I think I am giving testimony to the fact that words of wisdom, to be precisely that, must withstand the test of time. And these have, do, and will. Thank you, Ben; you taught me life’s best lesson
If you would be loved, love and be loveable.