Today the judge asked me locate an obscure and rather abstract idea that he had read in "an essay or book" by Benjamin Franklin. In the process, I discovered that Benjamin Franklin wrote far too much. But I also learned a very interesting and little-known fact: Benjamin Franklin invented a time travel machine and traveled to the present day.
After else, how else could he so clearly describe many commenters on online message boards and blogs?
Rules for Making Oneself a Disagreeable Companion
RULES, by the Observation of which, a Man of Wit and Learning may nevertheless make himself a disagreeable Companion.
Your Business is to shine; therefore you must by all means prevent the shining of others, for their Brightness may make yours the less distinguish'd. To this End,
1. If possible engross the whole Discourse; and when other Matter fails, talk much of your-self, your Education, your Knowledge, your Circumstances, your Successes in Business, your Victories in Disputes, your own wise Sayings and Observations on particular Occasions, &c. &c. &c.;
2. If when you are out of Breath, one of the Company should seize the Opportunity of saying something; watch his Words, and, if possible, find somewhat either in his Sentiment or Expression, immediately to contradict and raise a Dispute upon. Rather than fail, criticise even his Grammar.
. . . .
4. When modest Men have been thus treated by you a few times, they will chuse ever after to be silent in your Company; then you may shine on without Fear of a Rival; rallying them at the same time for their Dullness, which will be to you a new Fund of Wit.
Thus you will be sure to please yourself. The polite Man aims at pleasing others, but you shall go beyond him even in that. A Man can be present only in one Company, but may at the same time be absent in twenty. He can please only where he is, you where-ever you are not.
The Pennsylvania Gazette, November 15, 1750