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How You See Yourself Matters Most

In 1934, a young man wrote into the American Mercury Magazine with a moral dilemma regarding money. The magazine held a contest, inviting readers to send responses to the man. The following poem was one of the contest entries. It was written by my first cousin once removed. Over the years it has appeared in various forms including greeting cards and obituaries. Most notably, it was published in Ann Lander’s column in 1983 with the author attributed to an anonymous man who struggled with drug abuse.

It is a powerful reminder that we can have everything, but no matter how the world views you, it is your opinion of yourself that carries the most weight.

The Guy In The Glass

by: Peter Dale Wimbrow, Sr.

When you get what you want in your struggle for pelf,*
And the world makes you king for a day,
Then go to the mirror and look at yourself,
And see what that guy has to say.

For it isn’t your father or mother, or wife,
Whose judgement upon you must pass.
The feller whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the guy staring back from the glass.

He’s the feller to please, never mind all the rest
For he’s with you clear up to the end
and you’ve passed your most dangerous difficult test
If the guy in the glass is your friend.

You may be like Jack Horner and “chisel” a plum,
And think you’re a wonderful guy,
But the guy in the glass says you’re only a bum,
If you can’t look him straight in the eye.

You can fool the whole world down the pathway of years
And get pats on the back as you pass,
But your final reward will be heartaches and tears
If you’ve cheated the guy in the glass

*pelf is an old Scottish word meaning wealth or riches