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Is Late Always Better Than Never?

Oct 10, 2007
When a project's finished months after its completion date or a debt's repaid long after it was due or a guest arrives hours after expected, we tell ourselves better late than never. But is it?

Passengers on the Titanic, who might have been late arriving for their voyage, would have preferred to have never arrived at the dock. I don't want the Grim Reaper to be late. I want him never to come.

In the 2000 presidential election the Supreme Court ruled the Florida vote count would stand. Considering the count determined who was going to be President, I think Al Gore would have preferred that the Court's late decision had never been made.

A few months ago I didn't find out my mother-in-law's plane was late until I got to the airport. After perusing the shops, I checked the arrival board again and discovered she was going to be even later. When I was in the bar, I wondered why the airline hadn't known how late the plane was going to be the first time I checked. I also wondered if visits from mothers-in-law aren't always better never than late.

Some mothers worry about unmarried daughters. Finally the daughter brings home Mr. Right - pierced and tattooed. As the bride and groom ride off into the sunset on his motorcycle does the mother still think late is better than never?

Sometimes I've wished a vacation would never end, but eventually I'd miss things like money and family. In these cases ending later would be better than never ending.

If the ball had never ended, Cinderella would never have married Prince Charming. Maybe that's not a good example. Maybe after a few years Cinderella wished she'd been married in Neverland.

Nevertheless, sometimes late is definitely better than never. Paying your taxes late is better than never - even though Uncle Sam thinks it's less fine. When a woman's not ready to be a mother, a late period is definitely better than never having one. Nine months isn't enough time to change your life for the biggest change in your life.

However, sometimes late is the same as never. When your plane's been sitting on the tarmac for two hours and then is called back to the terminal, late turns into never when you say you'll never fly that airline again. And you probably won't - at least not until they find your luggage.
About the Author
KNIGHT PIERCE HIRST takes humorous looks at life.
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http://knightwatch.typepad.com
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