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You never know where you’ll find wisdom. I gathered some during a walk home from my Oak Park office. Walking was wise in itself, if you consider gas prices.

Even before I left the office, my secretary imparted some wisdom. She talked about a person she was worried about and announced: she was going to stop worrying and simply pray for the person. This sounded like a “get out of worry free” card.

Anyway, as I walked into Forest Park, I decided it would be wise to get something to eat. The place I entered was full of wisdom. I saw the proprietor telling an inebriated person to leave. It is wise for our barkeeps to exercise vigilance when serving alcohol. It is also unwise for a drunken person, who wants more, to zigzag their way into a bar.

Wisdom was also displayed on the TV screens. The White Sox demonstrated that good pitching and defense form the foundation of winning baseball. On the other TV, the Cardinals showed that having the best batters in the league also works.

Before leaving that establishment, I spoke with an official with the Forest Park Youth Soccer Association and learned it’s wiser to register your son late for soccer than not have him play at all.

As I continued my journey home, I ran into a friend who’s also in the private detective business and the wisdom flowed. After years of telling his workers how to investigate cases, he had a brilliant idea: have the worker tell him how they were going to conduct the investigation. I believe this wise principal could be applied to many businesses, because it forces employees to take initiative and saves your breath.

Normally it only takes me a half hour to walk home but taking in wisdom extended it to three hours. I wisely called my childhood friends and told them I’d be late coming over.

As I walked, I was once again appalled at all the litter on our streets. By contrast, I had just visited a city where the streets are spic-and-span. Would it be wise for Forest Park to imitate this city by starting an “Adopt a Block” program?

I also thought about another time I encountered wisdom during a walk through Forest Park. I met a long-time acquaintance who didn’t think it was wise to tear down two houses to put up four-story condominiums on a quiet street.

When I arrived at my buddy’s house, I re-learned that hanging out with friends I’ve known more than 40 years is a priceless kind of fun. I hadn’t called them for awhile and this taught me a valuable lesson about human communication: the longer we go without calling a friend, the harder it is to make the call.

I told my friend about my secretary’s strategy for eliminating worry. He responded with his own nugget of wisdom: we say we’re going to pray for them but do we really take the time? Ouch, sometimes wisdom hurts.

John Rice

John Rice is a columnist/private detective, who has seen his business and family thrive in Forest Park. He thoroughly enjoys life in the village and still gets a thrill smelling Red Hots, watching softball...