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  • Writer's picturePaul Cotter

The Laundry Lesson

Black-and-white view of laundry hanging on line outside a city apartment

Many years ago, I heard some words of wisdom that have always stayed with me. They came from Joe Crowley, co-owner of the Crowley Webb advertising agency in Buffalo where I worked at the time.


On that particular day, I was complaining about some minor thing that seemed unfair to me. Joe, a gregarious and fun-loving Irishman, responded by telling me that his Irish grandmother had a favorite saying:


“If you saw everyone’s laundry hanging out on the line, you’d end up wanting to keep your own.”


The point was this: It’s easy to wallow in self-pity or resentment when things feel stacked against us — especially when we see people who appear to be skating through life without a care. But the truth is, we know precious little about what others are going through. Everyone — everyone — has their own troubles to deal with.


It’s good to remember that bit of Irish wisdom when life’s laundry basket seems loaded with unfairness.




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