I have been told to reason by the heart,
But heart, like head, leads helplessly;
I have been told to reason by the pulse,
And, when it quickens, alter the actions’ pace
Till field and roof lie level and the same…
[Dylan Thomas, excerpted from “Should Lanterns Shine,” in The Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas 1934-1952, (New York: New Directions Books, 1971), 72.]
One day I called someone up and got the wrong number. I apologized profusely but then realized just an apology was not enough. I offered some money as partial compensation and then threw in some stocks and bonds at the last minute. Then I thought, perhaps if I could take their address and send them everything I own, then take a journey to Tibet to acquire wisdom, I could then inform them of the truth, something money could not buy. Naturally they were still indignant, but were at least convinced of my sincerity in wanting to make it right. They suggested that after I go to Tibet, I kill myself, thus offering my last breath as penance. This seemed slightly out of line, but not being a good businessman, I agreed.
So now I’m in Tibet, standing on my head on a llama, thinking ’bout the day I got dat wrong number.
—Steve Martin, “Wrong Number,” from Cruel Shoes, (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1979), 61-62.