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      心靈雞湯:一雙襪子A Pair of Socks

      APairofSocksOnefineafternoonIwaswalkingalongFifthAvenue,whenIrememberedthatitwasnecessarytobuyapairofsocks.Iturnedintothefirstsockshopthatcaughtmyeye,andaboyclerkwhocouldnothavebeenmore

      A Pair of Socks
      One fine afternoon I was walking along Fifth Avenue, when I remembered that it was necessary to buy a pair of socks. I turned into the first sock shop that caught my eye, and a boy clerk who could not have been more than seventeen years old came forward. “What can I do for you, sir?” “I wish to buy a pair of socks.” His eyes glowed. There was a note of passion in his voice. “Did you know that you had come into the finest place in the world to buy socks?” I had not been aware of that, as my entrance had been accidental. “Come with me,” said the boy, ecstatically. I followed him to the rear of the shop, and he began to haul down from the shelves box after box, displaying their contents for my delectation.
      “Hold on, lad, I am going to buy only one pair!” “I know that,” said he, “but I want you to see how marvelously beautiful these are. Aren’t they wonderful?” There was on his face an expression of solemn and holy rapture, as if he were revealing to me the mysteries of his religion. I became far more interested in him than in the socks. I looked at him in amazement. “My friend,” said I, “if you can keep this up, if this is not merely the enthusiasm that comes from novelty, from having a new job, if you can keep up this zeal and excitement day after day, in ten years you will own every sock in the United States.”
      My amazement at his pride and joy in salesmanship will be easily understood by all who read this article. In many shops the customer has to wait for someone to wait upon him. And when finally some clerk does deign to notice you, you are made to feel as if you were interrupting him. Either he is absorbed in profound thought in which he hates to be disturbed or he is skylarking with a girl clerk and you feel like apologizing for thrusting yourself into such intimacy.
      He displays no interest either in you or in the goods he is paid to sell. Yet possibly that very clerk who is now so apathetic began his career with hope and enthusiasm. The daily grind was too much for him; the novelty wore off; his only pleasures were found outside of working hours. He became a mechanical, not inspired, salesman. After being mechanical, he became incompetent; then he saw younger clerks who had more zest in their work, promoted over him. He became sour. That was the last stage. His usefulness was over.
      I have observed this melancholy decline in the lives of so many men in so many occupations that I have come to the conclusion that the surest road to failure is to do things mechanically. There are many teachers in schools and colleges who seem duller than the dullest of their pupils; they go through the motions of teaching, but they are as impersonal as a telephone.
      一雙襪子
      一個晴朗的下午,我沿第五大街而行,忽然想起需要買雙襪子?我拐進看到的第一家襪店,一個不到17歲的少年售貨員迎上來:“先生,我能為您效勞嗎?” “我想買雙短襪?” 他雙眸滿是熱情,聲音飽含激情:“您知道您來到了世界上最好的襪店嗎?”我倒并未意識到這點,我不過是隨便進來的? “隨我來,”男孩欣喜若狂地說?我跟著他往里走?他開始從貨架上拽下一個又一個盒子,向我展示里面的襪子,讓我欣賞?
      “停一停,孩子,我只買一雙!”“我知道,”他說,“但我想讓您瞧瞧這些襪子是多么漂亮?令人贊嘆!難道它們不棒嗎!”他的臉色莊嚴而虔誠,就像是在向我透露他的信仰中的奧秘似的?我對他遠遠超過了對襪子的興趣?我吃驚地打量著他?“我的朋友,” 我說,“如果你能這樣保持下去,如果這熱情并不僅僅緣于新奇,緣于找到份新工作,如果你能日復一日地保持這種熱心和激情,不出十年,全美的每一雙襪子都將是從你手中賣出去的?”
      我對他推銷時的自豪與欣喜所感到的詫異,讀者諸君當不難理解?在很多店鋪,顧客不得不等待有人來招呼?當終于有個售貨員肯屈尊理你,那樣子又讓你感覺像是打擾了他?他不是陷于討厭被人攪擾的深思之中,就是和女售貨員嬉戲調笑;而你不適時的插入打斷了他們的親昵,為此你感覺好像需要道歉似的?
      他顯示出對你和他拿著工資去賣的東西毫無興趣?然而,就是這樣一個如此冷漠的售貨員,或許當初也是滿懷希望和熱情開始工作的?天天枯燥乏味的苦差事令他不堪忍受,新鮮感磨去了,惟一的樂趣只能在工作之外找到?他成了一個機械的?沒有干勁的售貨員?機械呆板之后便是笨拙無能?隨后,看到比他年輕?工作熱情比他高的售貨員得到了提拔,在他之上,他于是變得煩躁刻薄?此時便到了他職業生涯的最后階段?他不再有用了?
      我觀察到,很多職業中的太多人在人生道路上都有這種可悲的墮落?由此我得出結論:機械地應付差事是離失敗最近的路?大中小學里的許多教師,似乎比他們最最遲鈍的學生還要呆滯;他們似乎也搞搞教學,卻毫無人的感情,就如同一部電話機?