Monday, July 23, 2007


Discipline is like Fertilizer
It smells but it is the only
thing that makes you grow

I read this walking home today in a business, the operations of which were undisclosed to passers by. Just like it is written there above, I read it on a sign stapled to the side of a cubicle near the window.

I have a couple of issues. 1) The minor of the two issues. Is discipline the only thing that makes you grow? What about aging? David, they are speaking metaphorically here, as in “grow as a person.” Fair enough. That is why this is the minor issue. 2) The major: when exactly, metaphorically or literally, does discipline smell? Is there some expression I’m not aware of, like “The smell of discipline” (I googled it, so I know that’s not one)? It sounds like something the redneck character in The Simpsons would say (his name escapes me. Trevor, a little help?). What exactly goes through people’s minds when they make things like this sign and place them into the world? There is just so much uselessness out there. Would you actually be motivated by this sign? Or would you sit in yr cubicle and wonder why someone thought you might be so stupid that you would actually think this made sense, much less be motivated by it?

What the sign should have said was, “Discipline is like Fertilizer. It stinks, but it is the only thing that makes you grow.” It still would be a horrible sign, but at least it wouldn’t be completely insane.

Try not to start noticing such things on yr walks home. It makes for long evenings of contemplation. And not the good kind.

And I didn't even get into the philosophical discussion of discipline and growth that this sign attempts to address.

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About Me

David Luke Doody is a freelance writer and editor. He is a founding editor of InDigest Magazine (, an online literary magazine and the blog editor for Guernica Magazine ( His writing and interviews have appeared in those magazines as well as in The Huffington Post,, The Minnesota Twins Yearbook, and Intentionally Urban Magazine, among others.

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