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Say "No" to Maugham

I recently picked got some old episodes of an old British TV series called Tales of the Unexpected on DVD for a couple of dollars in the bargain bin at a local supermarket. I won't go into the fact that very few of the endings were actually that unexpected. One episode was very like a true story my mum told me years ago. She said a guy she was at primary school with attributed his later millionaire status to the fact that he was illiterate. He couldn't read or write but he was an excellent car mechanic. He parlayed mechanical skill into owning several garages which he then sold for a couple of million. Illiteracy's contribution to his millions was that because he couldn't read or write, he got experts in from the start to handle his accounting and legal needs. He thus avoided the rookie error made by many self-employed people of trying to do handle these things themselves. This meant the business was run on a rock-solid foundation from the beginning. The Tale of the Unexpected episode was about a former butler, played by Richard Briers, who lost his job as a church verger because he was illiterate but went on to own a tea-shop business worth millions. If he hadn't lost his job, he wouldn't have opened the tea-shops.The episode was apparently based on a short story by Somerset Maugham. I have no intention of reading that short story. You see, Maugham believes that I, my dad and my brother, my auntie, my uncles and cousins are all scum. I have two volumes of Maugham's short stories at home which I will now never finish. Life is too short to read everything and the author calling me scum is a good way to put his book at the very bottom of the “to-read” pile and keep it there for eternity. A number of family members benefited from going into higher education thanks to government grants. But according to Maugham, folks who go to university on a government grant are “scum”. I'm sorry he felt that way because I enjoyed the short stories of his that I had read before learning of the contempt in which he held me and my kin.

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